Tuscan wrought iron style recent Penguin book cover.

Old Vic
Solved by: 
Mike Freiman

The word VENICE on the cover of a recent Penguin book is in a Tuscan style that I can perhaps describe as "wrought iron" because of the curls that look like twisted iron strips.

The letters are obviously decorated by hand with painted blue and gold trim plus shadow outlines. But are the letters based on a font, digital or ancient, or are they a creative exercise?
The closest I could find as a font is Jeff Levine's Saddle Hitch JNL, "inspired by a few words set in a decorative typeface from an 1887 publication." http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/jnlevine/saddle-hitch/
But Saddle Hitch JNL is a long way from being a match.
Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.


The bones of those letters might be Old Vic.

Many thanks Mike! I do believe this might point to the source of the lettering. Dan X. Solo bought old metal typefaces and Old Vic is his digital version of one of them. The differences between Old Vic and Venice might well be the application of of a different design philosophy to the same source. Anyway the ID works for me.

- to be deleted -
EDIT: remove complete comment after Mike's as it was totally useless

Ryuk - Saddle Hitch is what Don mentions above. It differs in several details. To me, it looks like a designer condensed Old Vic and used it as the "skeleton" for artwork. I could be wrong, though ...

Hi Mike, I reached the same conclusion.
I have been digging through my 19th century references for matches and still have not found an old typeface that comes as close to Old Vic does to Venice. Might be something from Connor or Bruce circa 1850s. Old Vic is not a high quality font and I was thinking of digitizing the design, which would be helped if I had some good specimen letters.

The showing of Old Vic in the Solotype Catalog:

Note that Dan Solo changed the decoration on the E's crossbar when he digitized it. Also, I just realized that Old Vic 2 (which he made his font from) looks to be a fill for Old Vic 1.

Mr Solo was apparently a master of film font alteration and special effects - and, indeed, states in the Catalog that his printing company invented several optical manipulation machines. Surely the Old Vic series reflects those effects.

Don - excuse my ignorance, but there must have been a way to create film fonts from metal type, right?

Hi Mike, I'm as much in the dark as you are about the specific methods used to create film fonts from metal type. But seems logical that they would have done it from a printed specimen rather than direct from the metal type. No doubt there is proper guidance on this somewhere on the web.
Looking at the Solocat image I agree that Dan X. Solo may have played fast and loose with his metal type in making this version. And thanks for pointing out his transformation of the E crossbar. Still digging through my old images without finding a source. A present I don't even know if this was American, British or Continental European. Tuscans were everywhere in the 1850s and 1860s with many variations. I find the treatment in VENICE to be much more appealing to the modern reader as titling letters than most of the Tuscans. Which is the reason I became interested in tracking down its roots.