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peterlborst

answered Typeface from 1680-1710

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peterlborst

Hi

I am trying to identify an Italic typeface used in the Philosophical Transactions starting around 1680 and continuing to at least 1710. The swash caps P, D, and R are very distinctive, such that the swash goes counterclockwise over the main ascender without touching it (usually, sometimes the ink bleeds). It appears to be printed for Moses Pitt at the Angel in St. Paul’s church-yard. Any help would be appreciated.

1521.jpg

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peterlborst

I have found an older example (1539). This typeface uses the swash for "P" but not D nor R. The capital "A" is quite unusual. It is referred to by the name "Basle Italic."

FRANCISCI VALESII.jpg

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Ralf Herrmann

What exactly are you trying to achieve? Do you need modern replacements for this style? Or do you need to identify the foundry for some academic purpose? Or something else?

In those early days, it’s kind of tricky. Fonts didn’t even necessarily have names like they do today and the design of the letters could change significantly with each type size. 

It should be possible to narrow down the active type foundries at that time in that region, but I’m no expert for English fonts of that time and don’t have English type specimen books going back this far. 

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Riccardo Sartori
1 hour ago, peterlborst said:

It is referred to by the name "Basle Italic."

Some information about the history of this style (“cut by Peter II Schöffer* with forward leaning, non-Aldine capitals”) could be found in several papers published by William Kemp on Academia.edu.

 

* That would be Peter Schöffer the younger.

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peterlborst

Thanks for the reply, Ralf. To be honest, I am working on a piece about Beekeeping in the American Colonies, 1600-1800; I saw the typeface used in the publication above and was especially intrigued by the "P" and the "B" (my initials).

I have traced it to Basle, in the 1500s. It resurfaces in a more recent typeface cut by Caslon, called "Cheltenham." But his is less fluid, more blocky, like so many modern faces. I have been studying graphic design and typography since college in 1992, but it has been an interest of mine since I was in grade school.

It would be nice to purchase a commercial typeface based on this, but it looks like Cheltenham Old School Italic is about as close as one can find. I made my own font back in the 1990s, with a software program the name of which I have forgotten. A lot of work, especially the kerning! -- PB

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Les

For a much closer match (at least in the spirit of humanism) check the swash alternates of Robert Slimbach's 'Arno Italic'. Also, his 'Poetica'.

 

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peterlborst

Arno is definitely a lot closer, but as they say in their literature:
"Arno draws on the warmth and readability of early humanist types of the 15th and 16th centuries. While inspired by the past, Arno is distinctly contemporary in both appearance and function."

PB

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George Thomas
5 hours ago, Ralf Herrmann said:

It should be possible to narrow down the active type foundries at that time in that region, but I’m no expert for English fonts of that time and don’t have English type specimen books going back this far. 

There were about four authorized foundries during that period as well as at least one unauthorized, but the problem in this case is that also during that time many printers in England were using Dutch types.

I'm still researching this one; it takes time, and there's no guarantee of an answer. There is always hope.

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peterlborst

Thanks George. I am, still digging into it, too. The more I look into it, the more unusual seems the typeface in question. It's pretty quirky, but I like it.

PB

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peterlborst

Here's an example of Cheltenham, from 100 years ago. Note the address, no longer P.C.

Cheltenham 1.png

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peterlborst

The typeface I am interested in was used by the printers S. Smith and B. Watford, who also printed Newton's "First Book of Opticks."

PB

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George Thomas

OK, an early Christmas present font ID for @peterlborst:

"Texte Cursive", François Guyot.
"A handsome italic used frequently by Plantin from 1555 until 1563."
Earliest known use: Antwerp, Jean Richard, 1547.

Hendrik D.L. Vervliet, Typographica Plantiniana: early inventories of punches, matrices and moulds in the Plantin-Moretus archives, 1960, p. 12.

Hendrik D.L. Vervliet, Sixteenth-century printing types of the Low Countries, 1968, p. 288-289.

https://search.museumplantinmoretus.be/Details/collect/206756

Some key characters I used to make a positive ID:

Texte Cursive.jpg

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peterlborst

George,

That is absolutely incredible! You definitely found it. I thought I was pretty good at this sort of thing, but you went right to the source. Of course, it still remains to be puzzled over why Smith and Walford used this particular typeface 150 years later. I noticed that it was only used by them for the "Philosophical Transactions;" later issues have replaced it with a more staid looking Italic.

Thanks again, forever in your debt

Peter Loring Borst
Ithaca, NY  USA

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George Thomas

I have another research source on its way to me in the mail. Perhaps the info will be in that.

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peterlborst

I believe I have finally found the source of the italic type sorts used in the Philosophical Transactions, circa 1700, if anyone is interested. 

The ‘Text Cursiv’ of Nicolaus Kis’s c.1689 Amsterdam type ... was used in Florence from 1691, cast from a different set of matrices; in London 1691 and Oxford 1695.

 

Quaeren.jpg

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George Thomas

The only additional information I can add is this excerpt from a footnote on page 94 of "Early Type Specimens in the Plantin-Moretus Museum", John A. Lane, 2004; Oak Knoll Press.

It is one possible explanation for the existence of the type in England, even a century or more later.

"9. François Guyot II continued his foundry in Antwerp to at least 1597, but its materials were probably depleted: the family had frequently worked in England and may have left matrices there, they sold some matrices and moulds when the widow of François I died in 1579, and François II's brother Gabriel moved to the Northern Netherlands in 1580, where he operated a typefoundry in Middelburg.... See Vervliet, pp. 26-35."

Judging from the dates it appears to me the Texte Cursive would have been cut by François I rather than his son. The matrices for the type may well have been among those sold when the widow died. It is no stretch at all to believe they might have ended up in London, a relatively short distance away.

I can see where it might still be in use a century or more later too; it really is a nice face. Obviously printers of the day thought so too since there were so many additional matrice sets made. It would be interesting to have all the matrice sets side-by-side for comparison.

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peterlborst

Thank you so much, George. I was able to find a modern face with a similar look, if anyone is interested:  [Link removed]    It's pretty nice, but not quite the same.

That sharp point on the swashes is pretty distinctive. I traced the design further back to calligraphers Arrighi, Tagliente and Palatino. See: "Three Classics of Italian Calligraphy."

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Ralf Herrmann

The linked font was of questionable legality, so I removed it. The original for this design should be:

 

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