The round hand emerged in the 1660s and quickly gained currency as the most practical and beautiful style of handwriting in England. Writing masters advertised the round hand’s utility for merchants and tradesmen, but it was in fact adopted by most individuals. Printed writing manuals increased in size and style during this period, as writing masters competed to produce the most elegant and impressive engraved examples of their handwriting.
"Sarah Cole Her Book Scholler to Elizabeth Beane Mistress in the Art of Writing Anno
1685" is proudly inscribed in round hand on the title page of the manuscript displayed below. In addition to instructions and examples in addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, the Golden Rule, bartering, and interest (copied mostly in round hand), Sarah Cole includes fanciful animals, figures, and patterns drawn in the new fashion, without the appearance of any penlifts.