The penmanship of William Allsup

The correspondence files at King’s College London contain a
really splendid example of late Georgian penmanship. It is a letter to the
Marquis of Salisbury dated 24 October 1832 in which William Allsup asks the
marquis to write a letter of reference on his behalf to the Bishop of London
who is a member of King’s College council. Allsup was seeking (and got) a position at the recently opened King’s
College London as a ‘writing and arithmetical master’.

Ideally, such a letter should show off the applicant’s
handwriting to best advantage and this example does not fail. The salutation of the letter, ‘My Lord…’ is a
delight whose initial great swirl reveals a careful pattern by which it appears
not to be solid, but interrupted.

I happened across this letter while looking for another
early letter concerning the location of King’s.

A few years after his application, Allsup produced a
memorial to the foundation of King’s College London written in a number of
scripts and colours, even. His care over
penmanship is again splendidly evident.  

I have taken the image from our online
exhibition In the Beginning explaining the foundation of King’s College London.

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