[Padua, Italy?]: Alessandri et Scattaglia, Directeurs, [circa 1785].
12/17/2010. A complete unbound set of 16 untrimmed plates engraved in copper by Pasquali, after Charles Paillasson’s section on handwriting in Panckoucke’s revised edition of the *Encyclopédie Méthodique*. This specific set of plates most likely was a set of proofs, with French captions, for the edition published in Padua by Alessandri and Scattaglia in 1785.
The set consists of: one double-folded engraved title (“Pl. 1”); followed by a bifolium with two plates showing the position of the hand and writing posture (“Pl. 2” and “Pl. 3”); and 13 double-folded sheets of writing samples (nos. 4-16). A total of 16 plates on 15 untrimmed folio sheets measuring 12” x 18” when unfolded, and about 9” x 12” folded as issued (to be bound as a quarto volume), with a consecutive sequence of engraved secondary numbers (21-50) visible at the bottom left and right corners of each sheet. The sheets are loosely sewn together into two bundles. Plate no. 16 has a few intermittent ink smudges from the original impression, else near fine overall, with modest dust soiling mostly to the margins.
Charles Paillasson’s celebrated handwriting manual *L’Art d’Ecrire* was originally published in 1763 as part of Diderot and D’Alembert’s *Encyclopédie*, with plates engraved in 1760. The manual was then republished in 1783 by Charles-Joseph Pancoucke in his revised and expanded edition, *Encyclopédie Méthodique* with partly modified plates. The Venetian engravers Innocente Alessandri and Pietro Scattaglia published a “pirate” edition of this work (1784-1812), for which Pasquali engraved new copies of Paillasson’s plates. The section on handwriting was later translated and issued separately as *L’Arte di Scrivere* (1796), with only 15 plates (no engraved title), numbered I-XV, and all captions changed to Italian.
An unrecorded separate issue of all 16 plates in their original state with French captions, numbered 1-16. A very scarce, handsome set of beautifully designed and engraved plates.