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Script Analysis - Float, Ascender and Descender Heights

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2 November 2006

Script Analysis - Float, Ascender and Descender Heights

This entry will make a lot more sense if
http://elmsleyrose.blogspot.com/2006/10/script-analysis-float-ascender-and.html
is read first.

This is the marked up copy from Codices Illustres
There is no float on this page (!) unlike the page from Backhouse.

Most, but not all sets of lines (ie the distance from the ascender line down to the descender line of one line of script) are 1.5 cm. Some are 1.4 or 1.6 cm.
Most ascender lines are 3 mm height, with some at 2.5 mm.
Descender lines are 2.5 mm or 3 mm height, pretty equally.

I was looking for the difference why some sets of lines were smaller or larger than the others, but couldn't find a pattern. Sometimes the x-height is a bit bigger at 10 mm (opposed to the smaller x-height of 9 mm), sometimes the the descender height varies, sometimes the ascender height.
Note this x-height is larger than I'd discovered earlier (8 mm)

Why ???

The descender line of one set of lines is the ascender line for the next set in all cases except 2

Looking at the letters (and remembering what I call 'the general case' where an ascender or descender varies in being just below the line, or just touching, or being just over) :

B : just touches the ascender line
D : are all version 1. Finish 2 mm above the waistline.
F. the crossbar is 1 mm down from the waistline. The ascending line is general case.
I also noted two different versions of the F (different top), although Stan Knight doesn't remark on F have variants. The different version occurs twice.
G : The bottom most corner of the G is general case.
H : The bottom most corner is at 1.5 mm below the baseline. The hairline touches the descender line.
J : The bottom most corner is at 1.5 mm below the baseline. The hairline touches the descender line.
L : just touches ascender line.
P : just touches descender line.
Q : just touches descender line.
Both P and Q finish at equal points, rather than varying depths - which is why the descender line is different from the ascender line in two cases.
S : no flourish, unlike on Backhouse.
Long S : general case
T : the crossbar is 1 mm below the waistline. The top of the T finished 1 mm above the waistline.
X : no examples
Y : no examples
Z : bottom stroke finishes 1 mm below the baseline. The lowest point of the hairline is 2 mm below the baseline.

This is the marked up copy of the 1 st image from the British Library

The Float is back! In most cases, the float line is the ascender line is the descender line of the line above (as in Backhouse). There were 4 cases (like the 2 above) where the tops of ascending letters finished evenly at the same height, which was not the float line, so I felt that the ascender line was a seperate line to the float line. The descender line was always the float line.

When I was looking at the Backhouse image, I wondered if the float varied for lines set against the historiated initial. I was unable to find this pattern on any of the other images.

Most of the sets of lines are 1.5 cm, with some 1.4 or even 1.3 cm.
The ascender height varied between 2.5 mm (in one case) and 45 or even 5 mm !
The descender height (float line) varied between 2 and 3 mm, with most at 2 or 2.5 mm.

Again, I can't spot a pattern in the varying of any of these measurements (ie the descender/float height is always smaller leading to a smaller measurement for that set of lines)

The x-height varied between 8 and 9 mm, with most at 8 mm.

For the letters :

B : just touches the ascender line
D : all were version 1. Finished 2 mm above the waistline.
F : the crossbar was 1 mm down from the waistline. The top of the F just touches the ascender line.
G : the bottom most corner is general case
H : the bottom most corner finishes at 1 mm below the baseline. The hairline finishes at the descender line.
J : no example
L : general case
P : just touches descender line
Q : just touches descender line
S : no flourish
Long S : general case
T : cross bar 0.5 mm below waistline. Top of the T finishes 1.5 mm above waistline.
Half R : has a flourish on the left hand side finishing 1/2 mm below the baseline.
X : no examples
Y : no examples
Z : bottom strokes finishes 1 mm below baseline. The hairline touches the descender line.

This is the marked up copy of the second image from the British Library :

Float is here too, varying between 2 and 3 mm, mostly 3.
The float line is the ascender line is the descender line in 7 lines. In 11 of the lines the letters with ascenders in the line finished evenly but not on the float line, so I drew in a seperate ascender line.
The letters with descenders always finished on the float line.

The measurement of the set of lines varied between 1.4 to 1.7 (!) with most at 1.5 (just).

The ascender height varied between 2 and 3 mm and i'd say 2.5 was the average.
The descender height varied between 2 and 3 mm, with 2.5 the average again.

The letters :
B : just touches the ascender line
D : version 1 finishes 2 mm above the waistline. Version 3 finishes 1.5 mm above the waistline.
F : the crossbar is 1 mm down from the waistline.
G : general case
H : finishes 1 mm below the baseline, with the hairline going down to the1.5 mm below the baseline.
J : no examples
L : general case
P : general case
Q : general case
S : no flourish
Long S : just touches ascender line
T : cross bar 1 mm below waistline. The top of the T finishes 1 mm above the waistline.
X : finishes on the left hand side 1 mm ABOVE the descender line. The hairine extends 1 mm below the descender line.
Y : An exaggerated "V" shape, as with the Backhouse image. The point of the V finishes 0.5 mm ABOVE the descender line. The lowest part of the flourish finishes at the waistline below.
Z : Bottom stroke finishes 1 mm below the baseline.

Well, that nearly bored me to death! And all those differences!

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