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British Library Treasures in full webspace

Posted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 7:20 am
by William
The British Library webspace is as follows.

There is a link to Treasures in full.

There are various sections, including one on Renaissance Festival Books.

Clicking on the "The texts" link leads to the following page. ... earch.aspx

Clicking on the "Full list of books" link leads to the following page. ... kList.aspx

Clicking on a View link shows small pictures of the illustrations of pages available for each book.

There are many illustrations showing fonts in use.

One gem which I have found thus far is to follow the link to a book published in Li├Ęge which leads to the following page. ... rFest=0179

The Title page has a rather nice usage of what appears to be a single type ornament collection in an arabesque style.

Two levels of magnification are available.

At the page there are various choices, including Shakespeare in Quarto.

There is much interesting typography. I am studying the ligatures that are being used. Many of them are long s ligatures.

William Overington

4 June 2008

Posted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 10:21 am
by William
If one goes to the following web page, ... kList.aspx

and then moves forward to page 5 of 11, there is available a view link to a festival book listed as place Vicenza and date 1475.

The page includes the following.
Vicenza came under rule of Venice in 1404, and its subsequent history is that of Venice.
The following page has an illustration of some text printed by Nicolas Jenson in Venice in 1470.

Clicking on the image provides access to some higher resolution versions of the illustration.

So, I wondered, just on the dates and the fairly close locations, whether the fonts used for the 1475 festival book might be the same as used by Nicolas Jenson in 1470.

There are similarities, though there are also differences.

For example, the letter h is distinctly different.

I do not know at present whether Nicolas Jenson produced any later fonts that were similar to, yet in some ways different from, his 1470 font.

I note that the page does mention two later fonts, one Greek and one blackletter. The phrase "his first roman typeface" is also used, so I wonder if one or more other roman typefaces were produced by Nicolas Jenson.

William Overington

5 June 2008

Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 11:46 am
by William
I was wondering what point size of type was being used in the book where place is Vicenza mentioned in the previous post.

I considered the following page. ... trPage=003

I clicked on the page in order to get a larger image.

There is a block of 20 lines of text on the page.

Using the centimetre scale down the side of the image, and estimating, the top of the top line of the block of 20 lines is at about 5.1 cm on the scale and the bottom of the lowest line of the block is at about 15.3 cm on the scale. So 20 lines of text and 19 lines of leading between them, if any leading is being used, takes about 10.2 cm of page depth. Is leading being used? The tail of the q in the first line of the block of 20 lines seems to go down to almost the level of the top of a long s and the N in the line below it. The tail of the q in the fifth line of the block seems to go down to almost the level of the top of the M in the line below it. I wonder if leading was used at this time in printing history?

The calculation that follows is as if leading was not used for the particular setting of text.

In English metal type printing in the 20th Century, there were 72 points to the inch. The point size of the font was measured as the vertical height on the page of the metal stem of the item of type: this measuring going from above the top of b to below the tail of q. In using fonts in Microsoft Windows, point size is above the baseline with descenders not counting in the point size calculation.

The 20 lines of text in the example here being studied take up about 10.2 cm of page depth. Using Microsoft Calculator, 10.2 cm is 289.13385826771653543307086614173 points (=72 * (10.2/2.54)), which for 20 lines of text is a point size of just under 14.5 points.

However, bearing in mind the experimental error in reading the 5.1 cm measurement and the 15.3 measurement and the doubling of the experimental error by subtracting one from the other, bounds of 10.0 cm and 10.4 cm for the measurement seem reasonable, which gives a range from 14.17 points to 14.74 points. I wonder what it really was? Maybe some direct proportion of a unit of measurement of that place and time, or maybe just a size which was used for some other reason?

Studying the illustration leads me to think that if the text were being set on a computer so as to achieve the same size effect as the original, then a computer point size of about two-thirds of the metal type point size would be needed, something like 9.6 point.

Whether the size of type used in the book is a consistent size used in various books in various places or whether it is a local size is an interesting question which needs further study.

William Overington

9 June 2008

Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 12:20 pm
by William
I have found that there is a measurement known as a Venetian Inch. ... ometry.pdf

This may or may not be relevant to the size of type used in Venetian publications, yet I thought it worth adding these links into this thread as it may be an interesting possibility worth investigating.

William Overington

9 June 2008

Posted: Sat Jun 21, 2008 6:56 am
by William
There are some interesting illustrations from the books in the following thread.


William Overington

21 June 2008

Posted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 4:40 pm
by William
I was browsing and found the following book. ... &strPage=5

The typeface seems different from that used on the title page, notably the angle on the e character, slanting on page 5, horizontal on the title page.

I am no expert on identifying fonts, yet it seems to me that the font used on page 5 looks somewhat like the 1470 font of Nicolas Jenson.

William Overington

23 June 2008