Madrid: En la imprenta de la viuda de Don Joaquin Ibarra, 1802. Second edition, revised, of this celebrated book on writing. The plates show the geometric construction of the alphabet and the proportions for various sizes of script, as well as giving specimens of different types of letters, some with elaborate decoration. The section on arithmetic is remarkable. With fifty-eight engraved plates designed by the author, engraved by Asensio, Castro, Gangioti. Engraved title-page. Tear in vellum repaired on front cover. Contemporary ownership signature on front free endpaper, library rubberstamp on printed title, rubberstamped numeral on half-title. One gathering browned, a little light foxing otherwise. Overall a good, clean copy. Contemporary limp vellum with title in gilt on spine. Small quarto. [xxxii], 445, [1, note] pp. Item #12900
Torio (1759-1820) was a member of the Royal Society for Economics in Madrid, and keeper of archives to the Marques de Astorga. He “was a man of extensive culture who had studied several languages, an uncommon accomplishment for a master of calligraphy at that time. Torio, in addition to being an excellent writing master, is above all praised as an able and impartial critic and historian of the art, credited with reforming the bad taste which he considered prevalent among the Spanish scribes of his time. The bibliographer, Cotarelo y Mori, gives extensive space to Torio in his important work on the Spanish calligraphers…Torio’s principal work was the Arte de escribir, which was celebrated by his contemporaries and makes a fundamental contribution to the development of Spanish calligraphy” (Morison, Calligraphy 1535-1885, Milano: 1962, p. 165).