Medieval Writing
The History of l (2)

In the document hands and later cursive book hands, there are variants on the treatment of the ascender and foot of l, with a tendency for the letter to be looped in the more informal cursive hands, while the more formal hands may add extraneous little flourishes.

protogothic l In this formal protogothic example of a document hand from the 12th century, l is slightly curved, with a wedged top and fine diagonal base.
protogothic l In a less formally scribed writ of the reign of Henry II, the letter l is simple, straight and angular.
calligraphic l A calligraphic charter of the 13th century displays a straight and simple l with a rounded base.
cursive anglicana l In this example of cursiva anglicana, which first appeared in the 13th century, the curved ascender of l has a fine split at the top and a fiddly little foot.
charter hand l In this formal ecclesiastical charter of the 13th century, the letter l forms a sort of wiggly curve.
chancery l In this example of the formal English chancery hand of the 13th century, based on cursiva anglicana, there are two quite different versions of l present. One is a very simple broad cursive loop. The other has the fiddly split ascender, giving a sort of palm tree efect, as is found in other tall letters in this script.
chancery l
chancery l This example of l from an early 13th century writ has a simple curved ascender with an angular hairline base.
French cursive l This 14th century example of l from a French cursive document hand is a simple, single penstroke, cursive loop.
English book hand l In this early 14th century cursive English book hand the l is looped, but with a more formal, angular quality.
charter l This example from an English 15th century charter is the simple cursive loop.
charter l In another 15th century charter, the letter has an angled loop and a little fiddly foot.
batarde l This example of l from a formal and mannered version of French bâtarde script has a looped ascender and a formal curly foot.
late chancery l In the later English chancery hand, as shown here from an Elizabethan document of conservative penmanship and formal quality, l has a simple but elegantly angular loop, but is done in cursive style without a foot. The letter is very tall.
cursive l In this genealogical document of late 15th or early 16th century, l has a simple rounded loop, but sports a little foot.
cursive l In this endorsement on a mid 15th century petition to the English chancery, l is a short and simple loop.
late cursive l In this cursive hand of the 16th century, the letter l is a simple sloping cursive loop.

Humanistic book hands, as usual, reverted to the simple form derived from Caroline minuscule.

humanistic minuscule l In this example from a 15th century Italian book hand, l is plain and neat, with a shot angular foot.
humanistic minuscule l This 16th century example dates from after the advent of printing and is equipped with little blocky serifs and a hairline foot.
It is a bit intriguing that a letter with such a simple underlying form as l should be able to appear in some many variants. It is generally not a hard letter to recognise, once you are aware of the general particualrities of the script under examination.
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Histories of Individual Letters

History of Scripts
What is Paleography?

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