I had a vague notion that nyctograph was a form of writing but I had to google the word to find out its proper definition. I found several hits that stated it was a form of night writing, without the aid of illumination, devised by Lewis Carroll. I could not however, find the actual symbols Carroll used.

I don’t know how many times I have attempted to write notes in the dark of night and find the next morning what I had written was difficult to read.

I like the idea of a symbol system using a template rather than graph paper. I could use any available scrap of paper or even my arm. I took to writing on myself when I was giving art sessions at a maximum security forensic facility.

This is a sample of the grid template that I found at Wikipedia.


I pretty much use Morse and Tap Code, or reference to them in my work. Coding for me started when I made a series of bronze daggers and titled them after folks who were particularly difficult. I couldn’t leave it at that so I devised a code based on my nephew’s name and date of birth disguising the actual names. This piece is titled Filfeh, which does not exactly follow the rules of spelling. A few other titles were, Anoa, Nivner, Reima, Anxen, and Frea.


I have attempted to use other codes–Celtic Tree Ogham and the Pigpen Cipher but they haven’t worked with the materials I was using.


Perhaps they will find their way into a series in the future.

2 Responses to “Nyctograph”

    • NLS says:

      Thank you so much. On first glance it reminded me a bit of the pigpen cipher. Closer look, not so much, clearly different. Thanks for posting the comment and link.

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