Printing in England in the Fifteenth century title page page 256 of Printing in England in the Fifteenth century Page 177 of Printing in England in the Fifteenth century


Hendrik D.L. Vervliet, French Renaissance Printing Types: a Conspectus.

A majority of today's Western text types, whether Roman, Italic, Greek or Hebrew, derive from type designs conceived or perfected in sixteenth-century France. They became available all over Europe from the 1540s onwards. Their design, often going by the name of Garamont, remained unchanged for two centuries. Their pleasant serenity and excellent readability triggered a revival from the 1850s onwards.

This conspectus aims at surveying exhaustively and regardless of aesthetics, all Roman, Italic, Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic typefaces made in France during the sixteenth century. Such a survey will be of interest to historians, bibliographers and philologists wishing to identify the types used in the imprints they are investigating, as well as to type historians or type designers wishing to base their attributions on documentary evidence.

The conspectus consists of introductory chapters on the sources available, the evolution of sixteenth-century type-casting and letter-engraving, biographical notices of 17 punchcutters (both famous ones, such as Colines, Garamont, Granjon, and lesser known ones, such as Vatel, Gryphius or Du Boys) and the methodology used.

The main part of the book consists of the facsimiles of 409 typefaces (216 Romans, 88 Italics, 61 Greeks, 41 Hebrews, 2 Arabics and one phonetic) each with a short identifying notice, describing their letter family, size, punchcutter (or eponym), their first appearance in books or type- specimens, the surviving materials such as punches or matrices, and finally (for about two-thirds of them) the recent literature. Every typeface has been illustrated, several with multiple examples of their use.

Published by the Bibliographical Society, the Printing Historical Society, and Oak Knoll Press, 2010.
70.00; 471 pages, fully illustrated; hardback (buckram). ISBN 978 0 948170 18 2.

Copies may be ordered from the Secretary of the Bibliographical Society (email:
Members of the Bibliographical Society will receive a free copy and may order additional copies for 45.00.


Top | The Bibliographical Society

Pages updated: 30 July, 2010