Contemporary Fraktur Documents

What is Fraktur?

Fraktur is the term for the illuminated documents created in the 18th & 19th centuries by German speaking immigrants to America. Fraktur is typically associated with Pennsylvania, but it can be found anywhere that large groups of German speaking peoples settled, including my home state of Virginia.  Fraktur actually refers to the “fractured” or printed black letter Gothic font that is used in the documents.  It is printed letter by letter as opposed to being written as continuous script.   Fraktur is a form of calligraphy and some people use the terms interchangeably. I am producing contemporary fraktur documents in my own unique style inspired by the original artists.

If fraktur documents just consisted of printed text, probably few people would pay attention to them or collect them.   However, fraktur are very often, almost always, embellished with colorful decoration.   Fraktur documents are filled with all sorts of familiar flowers, folliage, and birds.   Some of the flowers and birds are easily recognizable, and some are just fanciful representations.    Most of these images are rendered in primary colors; red, yellow and blue or some easy combination of those.

Most of the original fraktur are Geburtschein (birth certificates),  Taufschein (baptismal certificates), family registers.   You also see Haus Segen (house blessings) consisting of scripture or poetry colorfully illustrated, and book plates.    I create all of these and also marriage certificates.   I am open to creating most any type of fraktur document.   I have seen fraktur posters, flyers, and family trees.

Stock Fraktur Document Designs

Below are examples of a hand lettered and hand colored Geburtschein , Marriage Certificate, Family Register, Haus Segen, and Book Plate using stock designs.  These are my original contemporary designs.

You need to understand that these are not prints of finished works. I simply print a line drawing of the original design  as a starting point. The paper may be aged or not; your choice. Then I re-ink the lines where I feel it is necessary,  layout and inscribe the fraktur text using dip pens and calligraphy ink, add additional art where appropriate, and then do the coloring with period correct water colors. The hand coloring and lettering will vary from one document to another. No two documents using the same design are going to be exactly alike.

Geburtschein (Birth Certificate), Taufschein (Baptismal certificate) or Marriage Certificate

Sample Geburtschein fraktur using Design 1
Sample Geburtschein fraktur using Design 1
Sample marriage certificate fraktur using Design 1
Sample marriage certificate fraktur using Design 1

Family Register

Sample Family Register fraktur using Design 3
Sample Family Register fraktur using Design 3

Haus Segen (House Blessing)

Hand lettered and hand colored Haus Segen using Design 2 in a Faux Painted Frame
Hand lettered and hand colored Haus Segen using Design 2 in a Faux Painted Frame

Vorschrift

A Vorschrift is a lettering example usually done by school masters for the use of their students.  Below is my Vorschrift Design 2  I did for my own reference, but I will also do a hand lettered and hand colored copy for you.

Vorschrift - School Master Lettering Sample 2
Vorschrift - School Master Lettering Sample 2 in a Faux Painted Frame

Book Plate

Book plates were common among original fraktur as books were rare and valuable things.   So people wanted to make sure their name was on them.   

Fraktur Book Plate Design 2
Fraktur Book Plate Design 2

Exclusive Fraktur Document Designs

In addition to the hand lettered and hand colored prints of previous designs; I can produce an original, exclusive design; hand drawn, hand inked, hand lettered, and hand colored in any type or style you like. I can create an all original Geburtschein (birth certificate), Taufschein (baptism  certificate), family register, Haus Segen (house blessing), Marriage Certificate, or a purely decorative work. Actually, I could create a fraktur style document to commemorate most any event.  Below is a one of a kind Marriage Certificate.

If you like these fraktur documents, perhaps you will also like my fraktur illustrations.

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