The Book Beautiful

A few weeks ago, a very kind man, in the midst of down-sizing, came into the studio and gave me book titled Notes: Critical & Biographical by R.B. Gruelle. Collection of W.T. Walters“, published and edited by J.M. Bowles in 1895, Indianaoplis and printed by Carlon and Hollenbeck. More significantly for me, the book was designed by a young Bruce Rogers, pretty obviously in the thrall of the style of Morris’ Kelmscott Press. Rogers would go on to become a renown book designer typographer, designing the  Centaur typeface, based on type he saw in Nicholas Jenson’s 1470 printing of a work by Eusebius.

Notes: Critical and Biographical was published in a “limited” edition of 975 copies. Walters’ collection became the foundation to the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore; both he and his son both had an insatiable desire for art and exuberant facial hair.

Title page of "Notes: Critical and Biographical," designed by Rogers

Title page of “Notes: Critical and Biographical,” designed by Rogers

 

Page spread of the same book. Rogers designed the decorated initials and headbands as well.

Page spread of the same book (slightly clipped by my scanner, so imagine marginally more generous margins). Rogers designed the decorated initials and headbands as well. The typeface is not his; it is either Antique Oldstyle or Stratford Oldstyle, both predecessors of Bookman, which can be found on most computers today.

 

A sampling of Rogers' beautiful Centaur type from "The Centaur"

A sampling of Rogers’ beautiful Centaur type from “The Centaur”

1935-50_0

Centaur used again for the Oxford Lectern Bible.

800px-Jenson_1475_venice_laertius

This is what happens when you give blackletter type to Italians during the Renaissance: Clarity. Jenson’s new-fangled “Roman” typeface circa 1475. It inspired Rogers to create a widely respected modern equivalent with Centaur.

W. Walters & son H. Walters, distinguished collectors of art and well-groomed facial hair.

W. Walters & son H. Walters, distinguished collectors of art and get a load of those ‘staches!

 

 

 

 

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