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´╗┐Title: Monograms & Ciphers
Author: Turbayne, Albert Angus
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Monograms & Ciphers" ***

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[Illustration: ROYAL CIPHER]






In laying out this book I have put into it the experience of many years
of actual work in the designing of Monograms, Ciphers, Trade-Marks, and
other letter devices. I have given the work much careful thought in
order to present the most useful material, to give that material on a
good workable scale, and in such a way that any design can be quickly
found. By the arrangement of the designs the plates form their own
index. On Plate II will be found combinations of AA, AB, AC; on Plate
III combinations of AC, AD; on Plate IV, AE, AF, AG, etc. A device of
MB would be looked for under the letter of the alphabet first in order,
B; it will thus be found in the BM combinations on Plate XVI.

Now the letters AA have only one reading; two different letters, AB,
can be read in two ways; while AAB can be read in three ways; and ABC,
or any three different letters, can be placed to read in six ways.

A complete series of designs, AA, AB, BA, AC, CA, to ZZ, would run to
676 devices; add to this a series with a repeated letter, which would
be the next in order, giving one reading only, AAB, BBA, etc., of which
there are 650, and we get 1326 combinations. This would require, if
carried out with nine designs on a plate, 147 plates. Our book was not
to exceed 135 plates, and in addition to as complete a series as
possible of two-letter designs, there were to be included some plates
of sacred devices, designs of three different letters, and other matter
which would make a work of practical use.

By limiting the number of combinations containing the I and J, and the
O and Q, which can easily be made interchangeable in the working, and
giving but a single reading of most of the devices containing the
letters X, Y, Z, which will be the least used, I have been able to
present a good working selection of two letters and a repeated letter
in 113 plates.

Three different letters, as I have stated, can be read in six ways.
Take, for instance, the first three letters of the alphabet, and we

    ABC      BAC      CAB
    ACB      BCA      CBA

Add a fourth letter to the three, and we have four times six, or
twenty-four readings, as follows:--

    ABCD     BACD     CABD     DABC
    ABDC     BADC     CADB     DACB
    ACBD     BCAD     CBAD     DBAC
    ACDB     BCDA     CBDA     DBCA
    ADBC     BDAC     CDAB     DCAB
    ADCB     BDCA     CDBA     DCBA

It will thus be seen that books advertised as made up of three-and
four-letter combinations must be very fragmentary, as anything like a
complete work of these units would run to an enormous length.

Now let us see what a work of three-letter designs would mean. ABC,
ABD, etc., giving an alphabet of one reading only, would run to 2600
designs. A book of this sort would be of little use, as the design
looked for would probably not be there, for every one of these 2600
groups can be placed to read six different ways; and to make a complete
work of three-letter designs, with no repeat letters even, would
require a showing of 15,600 Monograms or Ciphers. But what about the
three letters, one of which is a repeat? A glance through any list of
persons will show that these have a right to be included, though they
do not occur as frequently as three different letters. Add these to the
list for a complete three-letter book--there are 1976 of them,
including 26 combinations where the three letters are the same, AAA,
etc.--and we have 17,576 designs to be shown. Following the plan of
nine designs on a plate, we would require 1953 plates, making a work of
fourteen volumes the size of the present book. A bulky work of this
sort would not only be unpractical, but the cost of production and the
price at which such a work could be sold, would place it beyond the
reach of most of those workers to whom we hope to appeal.

In the plan I have adopted the book is practically a complete work of
two-letter combinations in a single volume. A device of any two letters
will always be readily found, which should be sufficient to furnish the
designer or artisan with a base upon which to build a design of three
or more letters.

There is to-day a growing taste for severe chaste forms in printing
types and lettering; the same influence is also directing a change of
style in the more decorative Monogram and Cipher. The florid
combinations of the last two centuries are gradually falling into
disuse, and are giving place to the very simplest forms. The aim of the
present work is towards simplicity, but in order that the book may
appeal to various tastes, and thus be of greater value, examples of
many styles are included.

Each of these styles, while based on some familiar form which has long
been in use, has had its pruning, and as much of the superfluous
flourish not necessary to letter or design has been discarded.

The styles included may be classed under five principal heads--Roman,
Gothic, Sans Serif, Cursive or Running, and what I might call Rustic.
These styles are treated in various ways, and in light and heavy
letters. Here and there throughout the work a design will be found that
may suggest a treatment for some particular device. These are odd
pieces that have occurred to me as the plates were in progress, the
execution of most of which would probably be more satisfactory in
embroidery than any other medium. There are three principal forms of
treating a device; I will call them the Imposed, Extended, and the
Continuous forms. By the Imposed form I mean a design where the letters
are written or interlaced directly over one another. In the Extended
form the letters are interlaced or written side by side. In the
Continuous form the device runs from beginning to end without a break.
In the Imposed form the principal letter, whether it is first or final,
should be accentuated, either by making it slightly larger, heavier, or
in some other way best suited to the material in which it is being
produced, it may be colour or texture. For the Extended form, if the
letters are to be read in the order in which they follow one another,
all may be treated alike. In this form, however, it is often advisable,
for design and balance, especially when filling a circular space, to
place the principal letter in the centre; in that case it may be drawn
larger, and in some other way made more important. The Continuous form
should read as the letters would be written, and care must betaken to
place them so that they will not appear to read in some other way. It
is intended that the Monograms and Ciphers shown in the following
plates be considered as outlines only, as models or working drawings.
The solid or tint grounds need not be taken as part of the design; they
are intended to show which are planned in a round, and which in a
square panel. There are but a few cases in which any detail is given
that would apply to a particular craft, or suggest the material in
which they are to be worked. Each artist or craftsman can use the
forms, supplying his own detail to suit the technique of the work in
hand. By this means the book should be equally useful to any craft.
With this broad rendering it will be noticed that some of the designs
do not appear to read in the order described; in such cases the
important letter requires that detail which I have suggested in some
instances with a tint or black. The order of description is followed
throughout the book for the sake of easy reference; it is only departed
from in a few places where one reading only is intended, as in the LRR
on Plate LXXXIV, the continuous Monogram NMN on Plate LXXXVII, and the
continuous Cipher WTW on Plate CX.

Before proceeding further I should state the difference between a
Monogram and a Cipher. This is necessary, as the two devices are
constantly being miscalled; some authorities too, while correctly
describing a Monogram, give a Cipher for illustration. A Monogram is a
combination of two or more letters, in which one letter forms part of
another and cannot be separated from the whole. A Cipher is merely an
interlacing or placing together of two or more letters, being in no way
dependent for their parts on other of the letters.

Of the two classes Monograms are the more interesting, probably on
account of their being more difficult to plan, though I think they are
rarely as pleasing to the eye as the Cipher, except in the very
severest forms. Compare the whole plate of Ciphers, CXIV, with the next
plate, CXV, composed entirely of Monograms.

The difficulty in designing Monograms does not so often lie in being
able to plan the Monogram, as in being able to produce one that will be
read by others, and where all the letters will read, and those only
that are intended. When we begin to put two or three letters together
that are made up of one another into a single unit, other letters are
suggested or occur in the device not intended; or again, two or three
of the letters will be so apparent that the third or fourth will only
be known to the designer or owner. Take, for instance, the PQR on Plate
CXV; the small device is the better one of the two, but few will read
it other than PQ, QR, or PR. Personally I prefer a design that is a
little obscure, if the lines are good, if it is a fine piece of

A Monogram or Cipher is in all cases intended for ornament, whether
used as a mark of ownership by private individuals, or for a company,
or a trade-mark. For purposes of commerce it is of course important
that the device should be distinct and easily read. The same might
apply also to the design for a club or society mark. For private use,
however, where the device is to enrich a piece of jewellery, plate, the
binding of a book, a piece of furniture, or part of the decoration of a
house, it should in the first place be a good design. If the conceit is
legible to the owner, and is of such fine proportion as to be
thoroughly satisfying to the eye, why should it read like an
advertisement, or be like 'Everything in the shop marked in plain

Some of the most beautiful Ciphers I have seen are to be found on old
French bindings, many of which would be unintelligible if we did not
know for whom the books were bound. These Ciphers form in many
instances the sole decoration of the binding, sometimes but a single
impression appearing on each side, yet the book satisfies one as being
perfectly decorated. This is so often the case with the Monogram and
Cipher--it may be the only ornament that is to enrich a fine piece of
workmanship--that in such places it should be a piece of choice design.

This brings us to that disputed point in this branch of art, the
reversing of letters. For my own part I have no hesitation whatever in
reversing a letter, or turning it upside down, or any other way, if it
will produce a good piece of ornament. It is just as easy to fill a
space, and fill it with good balance, with the letters facing as we are
accustomed to see them, but this method will rarely produce that grace,
beauty of line, and easy balance that letters of similar form turned
toward one another will give. As an instance of this I would go no
further than a single illustration which must be familiar to all--the
Monogram HDD of Henry II and Diana of Poitiers--Henri Deux, Diane. It
matters not where we find this, in the decoration of a ceiling, in
enamel or painted ornament, or as a tooled book-binding, it has a
dignity and feeling of easy repose that is never tiring. It would have
been just as simple for the designer to have made a Monogram of these
letters without reversing one of the D's, but no other possible
arrangement would give the grace of line we find in this device.
Another excuse for the reversing or turning upside down of a letter is,
that when the letters A, B, C, D, E, K, M, N, S, V, W, and Y occur
repeated, you often get by turning a letter over or upside down a
design that will read the same from all points of view. This advantage
must be apparent to all, where the Monogram or Cipher is to be seen
from different positions, as it will be, for instance, in the top of an
inlaid table, a ceiling, a tiled or inlaid floor, or in the decoration
of some small object like a finely bound book that will lie on a table,
and on many a piece of the goldsmith's and silversmith's work.

The H, I, N, O, S, X, and Z can be drawn in Roman so as to appear the
same upside down, and do not require to be turned over or stood on
their heads; but with the letters A, M, V, W, and Y, though they will
not require reversing where two occur in a combination, one will have
to be turned upside down to make the design read the same from all
points of view. If there are only the two letters, this will be simple,
but if three or four letters are to be put together, it will depend on
what the third or fourth letter is whether this is possible or not. I
do not hold with doubling one of the letters in a device simply to turn
over and make symmetry. If there is not a repeat letter, or a letter of
similar form in the combination of letters to be put together, all
letters should be doubled if symmetry, or reading from various points
of view, must be had. On Plate LXXXV will be found a Cipher LT, planned
without reversing to read the same upside down; a third letter, H, N,
O, S, X, or Z, could be introduced without altering the LT, so that the
combination of three letters would read in the same way, whether looked
at from the top or the bottom. There are but few letters that will plan
in this way. When it is required of a design that it will read from all
points of view, Roman letters will usually be found to give the most
satisfactory result.

Intermixture of styles should always be avoided. If the Roman and
Gothic are found too severe to suit a given subject, the Cursive and
Rustic letters with their easy flowing lines can be made to fill almost
any space one will be called upon to fill with either Monogram or

A device besides being of one style of letter should also be pure as a
whole; plan either a Monogram or a Cipher, but don't combine the two.
The only excuse that might be advanced for the mongrel form, would be
where a combination of three or more letters contained conjoined or
hyphened words, represented by, say, AB-B or BC-D. Here the B-B and the
C-D would form Monograms, the A and the B separate letters interlaced
into them. I have given illustrations of this mixed device on Plate II,
BBA; and on Plate XLII, EEO. For this last device there is no excuse,
except as a trade-mark to be written quickly; a circle with three
horizontal strokes, an upright stroke connecting the three in the
centre, forming a solid device, EEO, on the lines of the Cipher FFO on
Plate XLIX.

When planning a device avoid, if it is at all possible to do so, having
three lines crossing at the same point, making three planes. There is
always a confusion in the interlacing if there are more than two
planes, which produces a clumsy appearance in the design. There are
cases when slanting or curved lines come across a straight line, where
three crossings could only be avoided by contorting one of the letters;
in such a place it will be better to allow the three planes. Examples
of Ciphers having three crossings at one point will be found on Plate
XL, KE, Plate LXXXIX, MMT, and on Plate XCI, YM. Ciphers not
interwoven, but placed side by side forming decorative lines, will be
found on Plates XXIII, XXXIX, XLVII, and LX. One with the letters
written one within another, a useful form for trademarks, is the CCG on
Plate XXII.

A number of the plates have the nine designs carried out in one style.
These should be useful as examples of the different characters of
letters, as specimen pages for styles. I have grouped them under four
heads as follows:--


    Plate LXXXI, light. Plate LXXXII, light, with cord and
    tassel. Plate LXXXVII, uniform stroke, small serifs. Plate
    XCVII, sans serif, with cord and tassel.


    Plate XII, heavy. Plate LXXXVIII, light, pointed. Plate XCII,
    heavy, ending in leaf-forms. Plate XCIII, heavy, suggesting
    low relief, for stone-or wood-carving. Plate C, black-letter.


    Plates XIII and XV, foliated, embroidery. Plate LXXXIII,
    continuous. Plate LXXXIV, half-cursive, upright. Plate LXXXV,
    slanting. Plate LXXXVI, upright, uniform stroke. Plate XC,
    cursive-Roman, thin, uniform stroke. Plate XCIX, light,
    upright, flourish.


    Plate XI, jewellery. Plate XX, two-colour. Plate XXXV,
    flourish. Plates XCI, XCIV, XCV, and XCVI, upright. Plate
    XCVIII, quill-rustic.

       *       *       *       *       *

Monograms and Ciphers of three different letters will be found on
Plates CXIV, CXV, and CXVI. On Plates CXVII to CXXI are firm-marks of
two letters joined with the Ampersand, &. Plates CXXII to CXXVII show
an alphabet with the '& Co.,' examples being given in round and square
form. The last one of these plates contains also five examples of
Numerals in Cipher, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, and 1909. Sacred Devices
and Names fill Plates CXXVIII to CXXXII. Plates CXXXIII and CXXXIV are
made up of Labels and three-letter Monograms. The letters for the
Monograms are taken at random from a list of authors. The last plate,
CXXXV, is a suggestion for the decorative treatment of Sacred
Inscriptions in Monogram and Cipher, following the style of the Italian

One plate has been added to the work, engraved by Mr. Thomas Moring,
which shows some few ways in which these designs can be intelligently
interpreted for a particular craft. It also shows how the character of
a design may be preserved while a change is made in the letters or in
their position. Plate L of the work was taken as the model. The PPF has
been altered to EPF; the FQ transposed and made to read QF; FR to read
FE; and RF to read RS. In the FFR the R has been made into a P, an R
substituted for the reversed F, and with a slightly different treatment
of the second F, the whole made to read RFP. In the sixth design the
reversed R has been turned back, a very slight difference of treatment
in all the letters being necessary to plan this well. The last three
designs continue in the same way. A comparison of the engraved plate
with Plate L will show with what little alteration a different
character or reading can be introduced into a design.

I trust there will be found something in this book to please all
tastes, if only a single device. For any errors there may be in the
work I am alone responsible. In the drawing of the plates I have been
ably assisted by different members of the studio. I am also indebted
for the whole of Plate X. One error has passed me unnoticed till the
part was published. What should have been DP, on Plate XXXIV, I have
drawn OP; this, though a correct Cipher, is out of place on this plate.

                    A. A. TURBAYNE.

LONDON, _March 1906_.







[Illustration: PLATE II--AA, AB, AC]

[Illustration: PLATE III--AC, AD]

[Illustration: PLATE IV--AE, AF, AG]

[Illustration: PLATE V--AG, AH, AI]

[Illustration: PLATE VI--AI, AJ, AK]

[Illustration: PLATE VII--AL, AM, AN]

[Illustration: PLATE VIII--AN, AO, AP]

[Illustration: PLATE IX--AP, AQ, AR, AS]

[Illustration: PLATE X--AS, AT, AU]

[Illustration: PLATE XI--AV, AW, AX, AY, AZ]

[Illustration: PLATE XII--BB, BC, BD]

[Illustration: PLATE XIII--BE, BF, BG]

[Illustration: PLATE XIV--BG, BH, BI]

[Illustration: PLATE XV--BI, BJ, BK, BL]

[Illustration: PLATE XVI--BL, BM, BN]

[Illustration: PLATE XVII--BN, BO, BP]

[Illustration: PLATE XVIII--BQ, BR, BS]

[Illustration: PLATE XIX--BT, BU, BV]

[Illustration: PLATE XX--BV, BW, BX, BY, BZ]

[Illustration: PLATE XXI--CC, CD, CE]

[Illustration: PLATE XXII--CF, CG, CH]

[Illustration: PLATE XXIII--CH, CI, CJ]

[Illustration: PLATE XXIV--CJ, CK, CL]

[Illustration: PLATE XXV--CL, CM, CN]

[Illustration: PLATE XXVI--CO, CP, CQ]

[Illustration: PLATE XXVII--CR, CS, CT]

[Illustration: PLATE XXVIII--CT, CU, CV]

[Illustration: PLATE XXIX--CV, CW, CX, CY, CZ]

[Illustration: PLATE XXX--DD, DE, DF]

[Illustration: PLATE XXXI--DG, DH, DI]

[Illustration: PLATE XXXII--DI, DJ, DK]

[Illustration: PLATE XXXIII--DK, DL, DM]

[Illustration: PLATE XXXIV--DN, DO, DP]

[Illustration: PLATE XXXV--DP, DQ, DR, DS]

[Illustration: PLATE XXXVI--DS, DT, DU]

[Illustration: PLATE XXXVII--DU, DV, DW, DX]

[Illustration: PLATE XXXVIII--DY, DZ, EE, EF, EG]

[Illustration: PLATE XXXIX--EG, EH, EI]

[Illustration: PLATE XL--EJ, EK, EL]

[Illustration: PLATE XLI--EL, EM, EN]

[Illustration: PLATE XLII--EN, EO, EP, EQ]

[Illustration: PLATE XLIII--EQ, ER, ES]

[Illustration: PLATE XLIV--ES, ET, EU]

[Illustration: PLATE XLV--EV, EW, EX, EY, EZ, FF]

[Illustration: PLATE XLVI--FG, FH, FI]

[Illustration: PLATE XLVII--FI, FJ, FK, FL]

[Illustration: PLATE XLVIII--FL, FM, FN]

[Illustration: PLATE XLIX--FN, FO, FP]

[Illustration: PLATE L--FP, FQ, FR, FS]

[Illustration: PLATE LI--FS, FT, FU]

[Illustration: PLATE LII--FV, FW, FX, FY, FZ]

[Illustration: PLATE LIII--GG, GH, GI, GJ]

[Illustration: PLATE LIV--GJ, GK, GL]

[Illustration: PLATE LV--GL, GM, GN]

[Illustration: PLATE LVI--GO, GP, GQ]

[Illustration: PLATE LVII--GQ, GR, GS]

[Illustration: PLATE LVIII--GT, GU, GV]

[Illustration: PLATE LIX--GV, GW, GX, GY, GZ, HH]

[Illustration: PLATE LX--HI, HJ, HK]

[Illustration: PLATE LXI--HK, HL, HM]

[Illustration: PLATE LXII--HN, HO, HP]

[Illustration: PLATE LXIII--HP, HQ, HR, HS]

[Illustration: PLATE LXIV--HS, HT, HU]

[Illustration: PLATE LXV--HU, HV, HW, HX, HY]

[Illustration: PLATE LXVI--HZ, II, IJ, IK]

[Illustration: PLATE LXVII--IL, IM, IN]

[Illustration: PLATE LXVIII--IO, IP, IQ, IR]

[Illustration: PLATE LXIX--IR, IS, IT, IU]

[Illustration: PLATE LXX--IU, IV, IW, IX, IY, IZ]

[Illustration: PLATE LXXI--JJ, JK, JL, JM]

[Illustration: PLATE LXXII--JM, JN, JO]

[Illustration: PLATE LXXIII--JO, JP, JQ, JR]

[Illustration: PLATE LXXIV--JR, JS, JT]

[Illustration: PLATE LXXV--JT, JU, JV, JW]

[Illustration: PLATE LXXVI--JW, JX, JY, JZ, KK, KL]

[Illustration: PLATE LXXVII--KM, KN, KO]

[Illustration: PLATE LXXVIII--KO, KP, KQ]

[Illustration: PLATE LXXIX--KR, KS, KT]

[Illustration: PLATE LXXX--KT, KU, KV]

[Illustration: PLATE LXXXI--KV, KW, KX, KY, KZ]

[Illustration: PLATE LXXXII--LL, LM, LN]

[Illustration: PLATE LXXXIII--LO, LP, LQ]

[Illustration: PLATE LXXXIV--LQ, LR, LS]

[Illustration: PLATE LXXXV--LT, LU, LV]

[Illustration: PLATE LXXXVI--LV, LW, LX, LY, LZ]

[Illustration: PLATE LXXXVII--MM, MN, MO]

[Illustration: PLATE LXXXVIII--MP, MQ, MR]

[Illustration: PLATE LXXXIX--MR, MS, MT]

[Illustration: PLATE XC--MU, MV, MW]

[Illustration: PLATE XCI--MW, MX, MY, MZ, NN, NO]

[Illustration: PLATE XCII--NO, NP, NQ, NR]

[Illustration: PLATE XCIII--NR, NS, NT]

[Illustration: PLATE XCIV--NT, NU, NV, NW]

[Illustration: PLATE XCV--NW, NX, NY, NZ, OO, OP]

[Illustration: PLATE XCVI--OP, OQ, OR, OS]

[Illustration: PLATE XCVII--OS, OT, OU, OV]

[Illustration: PLATE XCVIII--OV, OW, OX, OY, OZ]

[Illustration: PLATE XCIX--PP, PQ, PR, PS]

[Illustration: PLATE C--PS, PT, PU]

[Illustration: PLATE CI--PU, PV, PW, PX]

[Illustration: PLATE CII--PY, PZ, QQ, QR, QS, QT]

[Illustration: PLATE CIII--QT, QU, QW, QX, QY, QZ]

[Illustration: PLATE CIV--RR, RS, RT]

[Illustration: PLATE CV--RU, RV, RW]

[Illustration: PLATE CVI--RW, RX, RY, RZ, SS, ST]

[Illustration: PLATE CVII--ST, SU, SV, SW]

[Illustration: PLATE CVIII--SW, SX, SY, SZ, TT, TU]

[Illustration: PLATE CIX--TU, TV, TW]

[Illustration: PLATE CX--TW, TX, TY, TZ, UU, UV]

[Illustration: PLATE CXI--UW, UX, UY, UZ, VV]

[Illustration: PLATE CXII--VW, VX, VY, VZ, WW, WX]

[Illustration: PLATE CXIII--WY, WZ, XX, XY, XZ, YY, YZ, ZZ]























Printers to His Majesty

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