Donald Jackson's collection of calligraphy notes and letters

Scope and Content

Donald Jackson's collection of notes and letters on the subject of calligraphy: bound volumes of Victor Hughes's talks, and a little correspondence of Victor Hughes including with Graily Hewitt, 1940 and 1942; Notes and bibliographies of Irene Wellington; Photocopies of letters to Jackson from Victor Hughes, 1958, and from Dorothy Hutton, 1974, with a glue recipe from S.A. Hurren, 1925.

Administrative / Biographical History

Donald Jackson, born in 1938 in Leigh, Lancashire, was awarded a scholarship to Bolton School of Art at the age of 13, and went on to specialise in design and calligraphy at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, where he was taught by Irene Wellington and M.C. Oliver. Postgraduate study followed, at Goldsmiths' College, and at the age of 20 he was appointed visiting lecturer at the Camberwell College of Art. Within six years, he became the youngest artist calligrapher chosen to take part in the Victoria and Albert Museum's first International Calligraphy Show after the war and was appointed a scribe to the Crown Office at the House of Lords. As Senior Illuminator to the Crown Office of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, he is responsible for the creation of official state documents. In conjunction with a wide range of other calligraphic projects, he executes Historic Royal documents, including Letters Patent under the Great Seal and Royal Charters. In 1985, he was decorated by the Queen with the Medal of The Royal Victorian Order (MVO), which is awarded for personal services to the Sovereign.

In the early 1980s, he moved his workshop and assistants from London to premises near Monmouth. In 1980-1981, he made a series of television films, The Story of Writing, and wrote a book of the same name. He was one of the authors of the book on Irene Wellington 'More than Fine Writing' (1986), and he acted as artistic director of the St John's Bible commissioned by St John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, USA (completed in May 2011).

Jackson is a Fellow and past Chairman of the Society of Scribes and Illuminators, and in 1997 was named Master of the Guild of Scriveners of the City of London. His innovative work and inspirational teaching, together with the books and film series, and exhibitions in Europe, North America, Puerto Rico, Australia, and China, have led to his being widely acknowledged as a seminal influence on the growth of Western calligraphy.


  • DJC/1 Material relating to A. Victor Hughes 1912-1958
  • DJC/2 Material relating to Irene Wellington [1957]
  • DJC/3 Photocopies of letters [2012?]

Access Information

Archive material may be viewed by appointment only.


This entry was compiled by Greta Bertram, Crafts Study Centre Curator, June 2020.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogue on Crafts Study Centre database. A pdf copy is available on request.

Conditions Governing Use

Written permission must be sought before any archival material is published.

Appraisal Information

None timetabled.


None expected.