Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Shelley, George

SHELLEY, GEORGE (1666?–1736?), calligrapher, born about 1666, received his education at Christ's Hospital, London, and in 1708 was living at the ‘Hand and Pen’ in Warwick Lane, where he kept a school. He became ‘a celebrated and shining ornament in the commonwealth of English calligraphy.’ In 1714 he was writing-master at Christ's Hospital, and he held that appointment for twenty years. He died in straitened circumstances about 1736.

His works are:

  1. ‘The Penman's Magazine,’ London, 1705, fol.; it contains thirty-two plates engraved by Joseph Nutting, and is adorned with about one hundred open figures and fancies ‘performed’ by Shelley ‘after the originals of the late incomparable Mr. John Seddon.’
  2. ‘Natural Writing in all the Hands, with Variety of Ornament,’ London, [1708] oblong fol. It contains twenty-six plates and a fine portrait engraved by George Bickham.
  3. ‘Penna Volans; done after ye English, French & Dutch Way,’ London, [1710?] oblong fol. It contains fifteen plates.
  4. ‘Sentences and Maxims … in Prose and Verse … containing a Select and Curious Collection of Copies of all sorts, put into Alphabetical Order,’ London, 1712, 8vo; 3rd ed. 1761.
  5. ‘Seven Plates of Round-hand, Italian, and Print, dated 1712, in Bickham's “Penman's Companion.”’
  6. ‘The Second Part of Natural Writing, containing the Breakes of Letters and their Dependance on each other. … The whole making a compleat Body of Penmanship,’ London, [1714] oblong 4to; it contains thirty-four plates, and a smaller portrait of Shelley engraved by Bickham from a painting by B. Lens.

[Massey's Origin and Progress of Letters, ii. 131; Evans's Cat. of Engraved Portraits, Nos. 9498, 9499; Bromley's Cat. of Engraved Portraits, p. 302; Noble's Contin. of Granger, ii. 360; De Morgan's Arithmetical Books, 1847, p. 73.]

T. C.