Italic hand

Slanted cursive italic hand font, designed to be drawn with few pen lifts. The italic was first developed in 1420 by Niccolo Niccoli to be a less labour-intensive design.

Niccolò Niccoli was an early humanist Italian scholar. Many say that Niccoli’s private library was the largest and best in Florence.

“Niccoli was one of the chief figures in the company of learned men who gathered around Cosimo de’ Medici, and his intellectual quarrels with other noted Humanists created a sensation in the learned world at the time. Niccoli’s chief services to classical literature consisted in his copying and collating ancient manuscripts, correcting the texts, introducing divisions into chapters, and making tables of contents.”  Encyclopædia Britannica online

The changes made

“The Script was invented in 1420 by Niccolò Niccoli, an italian Scholar who found The humanist minuscule to slow to execute. By 1440 his new, less labour-intensive script had been adopted as the official hand of the Papal Chancery.” (David Harris in The art of calligraphy. A practical guide to skill and techniques p.94, Dorling Kindersley, New York.)