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Dimensions of letter?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by DJA View Post

    Now see what you have started!

    This will go on for thirty pages.

    It’ll get more interesting when we get to Imperial sizes.


    • #17
      If you thought trainspotting was a white knuckle ride, hold on tight:


      • #18
        Origami Jack the Rippers anyone


        • #19
          Originally posted by hermholland View Post
          Not especially.

          Like I said I've seen replicas being made online wherein I'm sure they've just scaled it to fit whatever size they please, and it had me wondering how close to accurate that'd be.

          But also, at least for me, it would have an impact on my perception of the handwriting and accompanying smudges. I know there's been extensive analysis of this by people who know what they're looking at, and I also know that handwriting analysis isn't even an accepted type of evidence anymore, but even so; it'd satisfy a curiosity to know.

          A simplistic, and massively generalising, way to explain what I mean (because I can't seem to find the words to adequately explain the larger point) is that I've always been of the understanding that writing larger is indicative of a more outgoing person, and smaller of a more introverted person. Therefore if the letter was smaller it'd have made the word formation really quite cramped and introverted, even for its apparently boastful and taunting subject matter.
          There's more to my point than this, but like I said I can't find the words.

          It also characterises things like the consistency of the ink (because of how quickly it runs thin on the page before re-dipping the pen) and quite what could have caused the blotches and smudges (i.e.: though there's nothing to be gained from it being the case or not, as fingerprint analysis is out of the question, the blotch over "from" on the second line looks like it could be a thumb mark, depending on the size).

          Also, I've an interest in prop-making in general, and have in the last few months looked at recreating things like letters of marque from the Golden Age of Piracy, and so my curiosity about this kind of comes from there, too. Were I ever to decide to make my own replica, I'd like to know I was being as accurate as possible.
          If you do make a replica, please do share a pic. I would like to see that!
          Best Regards,



          • #20
            Last edited by DJA; 10-22-2021, 02:40 PM.


            • #21
              Click image for larger version

Name:	Kaperbrief_Maurits_van_Nassau_voor_Johan_de_Moor,_1_juni_1618_-_Letter_of_marque_-_Nationaal_Archief_-_1.jpg
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              • #22
                Get it right though or .....

                Click image for larger version

Name:	Hanging_of_William_Kidd.jpg
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ID:	771442 I kid you not.


                • #23
                  I'm so pleased to have started something, I'm not going to lie.

                  I was also interested in finding out when sizes were standardised. And JeffHamm's reply sent me down a little rabbit hole.
                  Apparently the ISO sizes we use now weren't really in any sort of standardised use until the 1920s, and not in the UK until the 1970s, so won't apply. HOWEVER prior to their introduction, there were other standards used in Britain, and one of these feels like it hits the mark rather nicely...

                  We've been saying A5 (5.8 x 8.3 inches) feels closest.
                  I said, based on the image posted by DJA, it looks like that but slightly shorter, maybe by an inch or so (If we assume the white sheet it's mounted on is A5). Looking at the image again it's worth noting that it's also fractionally thinner than the backing sheet.
                  The traditional paper size Dukes is 5.5 x 7 inches, which is 0.2 inches thinner and just over 1 inch shorter than A5, which feels like it fits the bill.
                  Also its aspect ratio is 1:1.27, which is nicely close to the 1:1.24 mentioned in JeffHamm's analysis.

                  So I feel like I could say with a fair amount of confidence that at the very least the photograph of the original letter is most likely to be 5.5 x 7 inches.
                  Whether that corresponds to the original letter is obviously unclear as we don't have it, but it *feels* like that would be likely.


                  • #24
                    Another 28 pages to go,at the very least.

                    Just wait until the Hamster starts on it's maps


                    • #25
                      Also, if I do make a replica, which seems increasingly likely as time goes by (because I've apparently already have a plan on how I'd execute it), I'll make sure to post the results (though I gather I'd need to do that in a different thread?)
                      I can provide my plan if anyone wants, too.


                      • #26
                        This thread will be unrecognizable in a few more pages,so just post here.


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by hermholland View Post
                          Also, if I do make a replica, which seems increasingly likely as time goes by (because I've apparently already have a plan on how I'd execute it), I'll make sure to post the results (though I gather I'd need to do that in a different thread?)
                          I can provide my plan if anyone wants, too.
                          Nice plan Herm, (and welcome, of course). For the "authentic" touch, get down the Bluecoat in Liverpool for ink (add sugar to fool any forensic document examiner) and then nip along to your local auction for a Victorian photo album to provide the period paper. Alternatively, source a Victorian diary with at least 20 blank pages for those necessary trial runs. Hang out with a dead guy in your local boozer for that shonky provenance feel, and hey Presto!, you've got the real "From Hell" letter. And possibly a new greenhouse.

                          (There you go Dave, that'll generate a few pages more!)
                          Thems the Vagaries.....


                          • #28
                            I... well...
                            ... I don't know how to respond to that...!

                            I was just going to do the "normal paper & teabags" thing... and some Oxblood ink I already own... Feels kind of half-arsed now.

                            ... gotta go find me a dead guy.


                            • #29
                              And there's some Rube something or other person who reckons Ripperologists don't know how to have fun!


                              • #30
                                Hi rj,

                                Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post
                                Hi Jeff - 1:1.141 is the exact ratio I got for the high definition reproduction (which shows the edges of the paper) in Evans/Skinner as mentioned in post #6. I don’t think this can be a coincidence.

                                As you note, A4 and A6 have the same ratio, but to me, either would make the writing unnaturally large or small, so I opt for A5. B sizes are rather strange, though not impossible, and the link you posted states that C sizes are used to make envelopes, which makes that possibility unlikely, I would think.
                                Just in case I'm wrong, I'm assuming you mean 1:1.41 above (1:1.141 would be much closer to a square)

                                On that assumption, yes, an A series is the far most probable as they are the most common. I was just listing all the options, which unfortunately for us shows the vast majority of which end up at the same standard ratio, making it impossible to recover the size of the paper based upon the ratio alone unless we end up with one of the rare unique ones. And, it appears we do not.

                                If I'm wrong, and your measurements were actually 1:1.141 (which I can't see that being the case, as the letter does not look square enough), that would be more interesting. It might suggest the author trimmed the paper by cutting off a strip from the top or bottom.

                                Having done so could point to a wealthier author (one who has some sort of personalized paper, with their name/address on it), or to someone with access to paper that has some sort of header or footer (i.e. military, medical, lawyer, etc). Of course, trimming the paper would not be definitive proof of that as it might also be argued to be consistent with a poorer author, who simply removed a partially used section as they can't afford to waste paper, etc. But, regardless of the reason one puts forth, it would have been another behaviour the author chose to do, and explanations would have to consider that choice; it imposes one more, albeit weak, constraint upon theory.

                                The more information we have about what actions were taken, the more we have to constrain our explanations. The possible actions not done are simply less informative - an infinite number of things were not done, making each thing not done uninformative, but those that were done, those are the tracks to follow.

                                Of course, not everyone accepts being constrained, and instead choose to ignore the bits that don't work for their idea.

                                - Jeff