Medieval Writing
The History of d (2)

In later English document hands variants appeared in the ascenders. In the 12th century they mostly has a simple curved shape, but from around the 13th century onward, cursive document hands and the book hands which developed from them displayed a variety of looped forms.

protogothic d In the formal protogothic document hands of the 12th century, the backsloping d is given a longer ascender which kinks upwards at the top.
protogothic d It looks much the same in a less formally scribed writ of the reign of Henry II.
calligraphic d A calligraphic charter of the 13th century also produces an essentially similar form for d.
cursiva anglicana d The more rounded and curly cursive document hand known in England as cursiva anglicana, which first appeared in the 13th century, added a long thin closed loop to the right to the ascender of d.
cursive charter d In this formal ecclesiastical charter, the curve to the right at the top of the ascender is not extended into a closed loop.
chancery d In the formal English chancery hand of the 13th century, based on cursiva anglicana, the ascender has a loop with a thick and thin line, but it is formed in a more cursive manner with a closed loop curving to the left.
chancery d This early 13th century writ displays two variants of d, one with the curve to the right without a closed loop, the other with a simple straight backsloping ascender.
French cursive d This 14th century example of a French cursive document hand displays a closed loop to the left with a forward slope to the whole letter.
cursive book hand d In this early 14th century cursive English book hand the looped shape is very similar to the of the chancery hands shown above.
charter d These two examples from English 15th century charters show in one case a slightly angular form with a loop to the left, and in the other a more curly form with a loop to the right.
charter d
The French bâtarde script can display different variants on d. In this very formal book hand it looks like a Gothic d with a fine loop to the right added.
late chancery d The later English chancery hand, as shown here from an Elizabethan document of conservative penmanship, the flowing effect of the loop to the left is given a somewhat stilted appearance by an angular treatment.

Humanistic scripts tended to revert to the upright form of Caroline minuscule, but not in all cases.

humanistic display d This example from a 15th century Italian book hand uses a rounded version of the Gothic d. This is not uncommon in humanistic display scripts which combined elements of Gothic rotunda with Caroline minuscule forms.
humanistic display d This example of formal 15th century book hand uses both the upright Caroline minuscule d and the backsloping Gothic d of rounded form.
humanistic display d
humanistic d This 16th century example dates from after the advent of printing, and shows a formal version of the upright d with serifs.
The letter d is one which can be diagnostic for script types and for dating, providing the usual cautions are exercised. Styles changed over time, but there was a tendency for various styles to be in use at the same time, and for certain versions of the letter to reinvent themselves.
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Histories of Individual Letters

History of Scripts
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