Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)MS272
TitleFairbank Collection
Extent36 items
Date?11th century-c 1860
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DescriptionFragments primarily from medieval manuscripts collected by Alfred Fairbank for use as specimens in his studies of letter-forms. The collection comprises a variety of scripts mainly on parchment ranging from partial fragments of leaves from early Latin writings and leaves from Latin tracts to entire deeds with seals. The majority of the pieces are of plain text whilst a few have illuminated decorated initials, including a mounted piece Fairbank received as a Christmas gift in 1973; another item was received as a Christmas gift in 1930.

The earliest item (MS272/A/1) is apparently the oldest item held in collections here apart from material in the Mingana and Rendel Harris collections.
Access ConditionsAccess to all registered readers
Finding AidsA catalogue of this collection is available on the online archive catalogue. Click on the Finding Number to display the summary contents list of the catalogue. A paper copy is also available in the Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections Department.
Access StatusOpen
Creator NameFairbank, Alfred John, 1895-1982, Calligrapher and Designer
Administrative HistoryAlfred John Fairbank (1895-1982) was an English calligrapher of considerable influence. He was a student of Edward Johnston at the Central School of Arts and Crafts and later a founder member of the Society of Scribes and Illuminators. He also founded the Society for Italic Writing. In 1951 he was awarded the CBE. His publications include 'A handwriting manual' 1932 and 'A book of scripts' 1949.
Source: and (10 Dec 2006)
Custodial HistoryFormer location: MSS 5/ii/28
AcquisitionPuchased at Sotheby's auction, October 1982; provenance unknown
Archival NoteSections B-C catalogued by A. George, in accordance with guidelines provided by ICA General International Standard Archival Description (ISAD(G)), second edition, Ottawa; and in-house cataloguing guidelines; Section A slightly expanded from the 1987 handlist by Ben Benedikz; January 2016
Related MaterialThe Humphreys Bequest comprises many other calligraphic and palaeographic examples (ref: KWH)


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