Other styles of writing were in use side by side with the secretary for some purposes, but before about 1650 these were exceptional, .... It was well established by 1525. By 1650 it was well on its way toward extinction,and by 1700 it had vanished - not without trace, but as a distinct hand.
The Secretary hand has far more scope for idiosyncrasies than the other scripts, though it can be highly formalized in the uniformity of the letter shapes. Its extinction as a distinct hand was due to contamination from more fluid and less complex hands such as italic. Early forms of the secretary use the Gothic form of e - the form which is recognized as the correct one for a pure secretary. (i.e.: two strokes, both curving in the same direction.) By c1600, most secretary hands made use of the italic 'e'.
Secretary and Italic hands were often used side by side by scribes to offset certain elements, and many scribes in lute manuscripts appear to have been equally skilled in both scripts. There is less scope in the Italic hand than in the Secretary for developing a personal style, which seems to have been a desirable trait when developing one's handwriting.
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