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Something fuzzy

24/03/2019

An unusual use of words to say the least.

Recent letter carving in slate

27/01/2019

It has been a while since I picked up a chisel and took the tungsten tip to a piece of stone. So I was delighted to be commissioned by a friend to carve two words into a rectangular block of Mintaro slate from near Adelaide, Australia, approximately 300mm by 75mm. [The text Cantabo Vivere can be liberally translated as Sing to live.]

The photos here illustrate the methods used in setting out the letters, initial cutting and the final piece.

cantabo_rough

This illustrates how the text is transferred to the stone, using carbon paper. Note the outline is a guide only.

cantabo_c

The first cut of the A, with the C almost complete.

cantabo_r

The R is being formed. Note how the shape is being tweaked in the process of cutting.

cantabo_hand

Holding the chisel. Dirty work.

cantabo vivere complete

Complete after being rubbed with at least 400 grit under running water.

 

Corsets and Mourning

01/12/2018

What’s the link? Well, on the side of this magnificent building in central Sydney, Australia [built 1908] are adverts for both items: corsets and mourning [costume I presume]. A wonderful incidence of unintended humour. Or was it intended? We may never know. I invite comment on the lettering style, as well as matching stories.

Corsets and Mourning

On the side of the former Mark Foy’s Emporium, Sydney, Australia.

Cardinal Pietro Bembo, De Etna and the publisher/printer Aldus Manutius

12/10/2018

The man who was much later to become Cardinal Pietro Bembo wrote in the 1490s of his travels up the slopes of Mount Etna. The text was in the form of a dialogue between Pietro and his father, Bernardo, the latter twice an ambassador for the Venetians in Florence and also a highly respected connoisseur of the arts. The book was taken up by Aldus Manutius in 1495, partly to make money since the publisher was, to paraphrase Updike, commercially driven, as shown by his commissioning some years after the publication of De Etna, an italic face. [See below.]

The roman designed for Cardinal Bembo’s travelogue is not considered by experts in the field as much good. Updike, quoted by Morison, says there’s only one roman that comes

Aldus Manutius book

Hypnerotomachia Poliphili

close to distinction, and that’s from the 1499 edition of Hypnerotomachia Poliphili [‘The Strife of Love in a Dream of the Lover of Polia’ by Franciscus Colona]. Both this and the italic were cut by Francesco Raibolini da Blogna, more popularly known as Griffo. [From the Strife of Love also came the publisher’s device, though it was first on a coin said to have been sent by Cardinal Bembo to his publisher.]

The Bembo known to us was recut by the Monotype Corporation in 1929 [overseen by Morison].

Tally of types Bembo

From Tally of Types

As a tailpiece, Updike has a brilliant note [2nd edition, p.127] regarding the Aldine italic, observing its use was to make books in a smaller size [16mo] so they could be portable. The note, a quote from another author, reads: ‘We think of the cheap book and the public library as blessings coming direct from the invention of the printing-press, and at first thought we may be inclined to suppose that in Rome, when copies had to be written by hand, books must have been as dear as they were during the Middle Ages…This was not the case. Copyists had been trained to attain such a speed in writing, and slave labour was so cheap, that in the first century of our era, as Martial tells us, his first book of poems, which contains about seven hundred lines, could be had at a sum amounting to thirty or forty cents, while his Xenia could be sold for twenty cents. At these rates, books did not cost more than twice what they do to-day’.

Texts consulted: Updike, D.B. Printing Types, 1937; Morison, S.M. A Tally of Types, 1973; HMSO. Early Printers’ Marks. 1962. Printing and the Mind of Man, 1963. Grafton, A. Locum, Lacum, Lucum. 13/9/2018, London Review of Books. [The last was the inspiration for this blog.]

Aldus Manutius device

Dolphin and Anchor device

 

Monotype Pitt: help required in tracing: help found and update

12/05/2018

In The Monotype Recorder vol 36, no. 3 [December 1937], the Fortieth Birthday Number is a report on the Fifty Books of 1936: the type faces used.

Monotype Recorder 1937

The Monotype Recorder

Reading through the list I came across reference to Monotype Pitt (private). The text speaks of ‘the Pitt 8vo Bible of the Cambridge University Press, which was designed with special reference to the requirements of schools’.

While I am aware of the tradition of CUP for its Pitt Bible series, as well as the Pitt Building, in the town, I have never come across a type face so named. Can anyone throw light on this?

Monotype Pitt

Monotype Pitt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following Marvin’s answer to my question I am pleased to show this page from my copy of the Monotype Type Faces, dated [bottom left] 9-63:

Times Roman semi bold 421

Times Series 421

 

The Monotype Corporation: a film from the 1950s

06/05/2018

On the same site as the film about Linotype [PrintingFilms.com] comes this showing the Monotype Corporation in its heyday. It describes the journey to Salfords,

Monotype factory from the air

From ‘Monotype’ Machines in the Making [undated, ?mid-1960s]

near Redhill, then takes you in to the works, more a town than a factory. I love the scene of the brass band playing, the sense of order and calm attention to detail. [Scroll down to Newest Additions…]

The Monotype Corporation

Also check out The Museum of Printing

And as an aside, I too have my own film recently digitised about The Beeches Press, including footage of the Caster I then owned in action. One day I too will get around to uploading it to the web.

Linotype: how it works

04/05/2018

I was always a Monotype man. The Linotype never much interested me. Until now. Here is this link to a fascinating and informative historical video.