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Signs of the Times (2)

As a follow-up from my previous post about Richard’s handwriting, I thought I might consider the writing of a few others of his time period. Please bear in mind again, that this is just for fun and I am not a professional handwriting analyst. Also, there are only a few examples of the handwriting of some of these people that I was able to find (if you have access to any others, please let me know).

Firstly, let us consider the writing of the King and Queen for most of Richard’s life: Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville.

Ed IV sigHere is Edward’s signature, when he was the Earl of March, so he must have been younger than eighteen. Just look at the HUGE lower zone, which represents physical material and sexual needs and appetites. Need I say more? OK, then! It indicates an inability to stay within the sexual boundaries of his times. This is also indicated by the phallic symbols present in the ends of the letters ‘M’ and ‘h’. I’m not sure what the dots next to the ‘M’ mean, but the curved shape under the ‘r’ and ‘c’ makes me think he was a ‘boob’ man! Also, note the proliferation of ‘X’s, which could mean a preoccupation or concern about death, which most people must have had in those days. The little ‘logo’ type thingy after the name puts me in mind of a musical stave, which might suggest a love of music. The signature is bold and clear, showing confidence and possibly arrogance and leans to the right which shows sociability and openness.

Here is one of his later signatures with a bit of other handwriting which I have been advised reads ‘votre (abbreviated) bon cousin’. Anyway, you can see that his lower zone overlaps the line underneath, which shows his lack of keeping within the normal bounds when it comes to sex. However, the lower curl of the ‘y’s are not that well defined. I’m not sure how old he was when he wrote this, but his libido looks to be less than before. The slope of the writing is erratic, suggesting a mercurial nature and the communication letters are also erratic, some carefully rounded and closed and others open – a lot of the letters are not clearly formed, showing deceit and hiding aspects of oneself. Death is still present in the ‘E’ and the ‘IV’

 Edward IV sig

Here are some abbreviated signatures of Edward, representing E R (for Edwardus Rex). The first one is interesting because of the heart shape underneath the first letter – was he in love when he wrote this one? Or it could also be seen as a shield or coat of arms which may have been his preoccupation then.

In the second example, see how his signature is practically one big ‘X’ and is sloping backwards. Crossing through your own signature is a sign of despair. He seems to have been having a bout of depression at this time and the backwards sloping letters show he wants to be left alone to work it out. The phallic symbols are still there though!

Compare it with the third one. Look how the letters are upright and flowing, much less angular and more elegant. This suggests a high intellectual capacity (the prominent upper zone), great self-control (upright letters) and artistic nature with a gentle side (the flowing elegant style). The third one is Richard’s. You can see an ‘x’ there too, but it integrates into the whole more smoothly and doesn’t look like a crossing out. Death was ever-present in those times. A second interpretation of the proliferation of ‘x’s in general could be the influence of religion in Mediaeval times. 


Ed IV sig


Ed IV sig


Richard III sig

Elizabeth’s signature is interesting. There is a much reduced upper zone, suggesting she was not very intellectual. Even the ‘e’ is not capitalised reducing it to a middle zone letter, and see the ‘t’ and ‘b’ do not reach any further than the middle zone. So she has an over-emphasised middle zone. This shows a concern with everyday things, the here and now, including material possessions, nice clothes, jewels, outward appearance. She is emotionally focused on herself. However, she does also have quite a libido – see the phallic symbols? She crosses boundaries when it comes to sex and has strong sexual desires. And I don’t know about you, but when I look at that twiddly underline with the signature, it looks like a crown to me!

.Eliz Woodville sig

Finally let us consider the signature of George, Duke of Clarence. I have found two samples – unfortunately I do not know when they were written:


Clarence sig


Clarence sigYou can see that number one is much more angular and spiky than number two. The sharp angles suggest anger or agitation, whereas George was much calmer and more peaceful when he wrote number two. Both signatures are quite legible which shows that he was not deceptive – he may have changed sides a few times, but he didn’t keep it secret for long, he openly showed his hand. He could be a good communicator when he wanted to be. Like Elizabeth’s signature George’s middle zone is the most prominent and shows his preoccupation with himself and his immediate needs, his material possessions and outward show. He likes to be the centre of attention. There are no lower zone letters but the upper zone ones are quite well formed which suggests he was quite clever also. They tend to lean towards the right, which shows he lets his emotions show.

I hope you enjoyed this. Please give your comments or your own suggestions for interpretations below and I will do another post on some other WOTR characters in a while.


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13 thoughts on “Signs of the Times (2)

  1. mairemartello on said:

    So much fun! Was Richard the only literate person in the family? Those other signatures are a mess!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kalina on said:

    Indeed…like small children:)))

    Liked by 1 person

  3. mairemartello on said:

    I’m wondering if Richard had artistic talent. His calligraphy (when he wasn’t bent out of shape at the Duke of Buckingham) is so meticulous and beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ed on said:

    Glad to have helped 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I hope you analyze Henry VII’s, I wonder what you’ll have to say about his huge, angular letters and the way they dwarf his wife’s signature where they both put their signatures on the same page.

    His son Henry VIII also liked to write in huge letters, maybe it was a part of emphasizing royal authority. Speaking of which, Anne Boleyn’s signature is one of the few that really stand out among the signatures of people from the 15th and 16th century I’ve seen, by how perfectly legible it is. A sign of being a direct, ‘what you see is what you get’ kind of person?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Also, it’s fun to see people of that period doodling images as part of their signatures; is this supposed to be a flower in the signature of John de Vere, Earl of Oxford?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I would love to see Richard, Duke of York’s signature. From what I can tell, Richard was like his father and I wonder whether this shows in his writing.


  8. I haven’t seen one of his, but if you find one, let me know – I would be interested in the comparison too.


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