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Traité de calligraphie/Maximilien de La Haize 


Maximilien De La Haize (Mons, 1593-1652)

Maximilien De La Haize was born in Mons in 1593. Organist and organ builder, he also taught writing in Mons. He studied Humanities at the Houdain College. In 1627 he was appointed as the schoolmaster of the Monastic School in Chimay, as well as the organist at the Collegiate Church. In 1628 he was recruited to be the organist at the Sainte-Waudru  Collegiate Church in Mons, a post which he held until 1652. Thanks to his teaching experience he became a teacher at the Houdain College, where he taught calligraphy and French grammar to elementary school students. He died in Mons in 1652.

Maximilien De La Haize’s Treatise on Calligraphy

Diverses sortes de traicts de plume et d’escriture des inventions de Maximilien De La Haize, escrivain & maistre de la Plume d’or was published by François Waudré in Mons in 1640. This treatise on calligraphy was mostly printed using engraved copper plaques. However, the second and third pages were done using letterpress, and contain a dedication to the aldermen of Mons and two verses, one by L Fayneau, Canon at Saint-Germain, and the other by his son. A portrait of the author can be found on the first page of the book. The 27 plates were designed by the teacher as calligraphy exercises for his students. They contain moral sentences written in different characters with arabesque decorations, which sometimes feature animals or people. Each maxim has the particularity of being done using lineography. The last two pages contain the alphabet written in different writing styles.
De La Haize also published a grammar book called Les conjugaisons de la langue Française, in Mons, in 1640, which he wrote for his elementary school students.

Christine Gobeaux


Léopold DEVILLERS, Biographie nationale, t. 8, Bruxelles, 1884-1885, col. 610 ; Ernest MATTHIEU, Histoire de l’enseignement primaire en Hainaut, Mons, Dequesne-Masquillier & Fils, 1897 ; Ernest MATTHIEU, Maximilien De La Haize grammairien montois : de l’enseignement de la grammaire française spécialement à Mons avant le XVIIIe siècle, Mons, Dequesne-Masquillier, 1887 ; René PLISNIER, Du XVIe-XIXe siècle : Rutger Velpius, Charles Michel, François Waudrez, Mathieu Wilmet, Hector Manceaux, dans Marie-Thérèse ISAAC (dir.), La Bibliothèque de l'Université de Mons-Hainaut : 1797-1997, Mons, Université de Mons-Hainaut, 1997, p.  75-76.