Google Books has full text available of a wonderfully beautiful collection of scans from 16th, 17th, and 18th century works displaying the amazing penmanship of those centuries. The flourishes are amazing, bringing to mind a time when writing was an art.
From Penmanship of the XVI, XVII and XVIIIth Century by Lewis. F. Day:
The book begins with some examples of the various Chancery hands, and these are followed by specimens of Old English, German, Roman, and other more or less formal types of penmanship. The rather restrained running hands come next, followed, in their turn, by writing characterized by more or less heavy blobs of ink at the end of the letters. The current hands in which flourishes are predominant, bring to an end the examples chosen simply as writing.