John Baskerville

spmcreative.co.uk's picture

Hi there, a few things really I am currently researching the typographist John Baskerville.

Does anybody know where I can find images of the original typeface

Who or What were John Baserville's Influence's

Any examples of Corparate Use's of his modernised fonts

Or any good books about him?

Thanks Simon

wolfgang_homola's picture

Book:

Pardoe, F.E. : John Baskerville of Birmingham. Letter-Founder and Printer.
London: Muller 1975

hrant's picture

AFAIK the Pardoe is the "standard", and another good reference is:
"John Baskerville, type-founder and printer", Josiah H. Benton, 1944 (also 1968).

> Who or What were John Baserville’s Influence’s

In terms of letterforms: his own calligraphy, and letters engraved in metal and stone. But his contribution was "total", in that paper and ink were central to his effort, and in this broader aspect it seems that his japanning* business (where he made all the money that he would later spend on typography) had a distinct "ideological" influence.

* http://www.answers.com/japanning&r=67

One could also suspect that the Romain du Roi had an influence on him. But more interesting is to consider who was influenced by him, especially on the continent, where he was better esteemed than on his own island.

> Any examples of Corparate Use’s of his modernised fonts

Tons. Habitat* uses the Fry's version for its logo. Christopher Perfect's "The Complete Typographer: A Manual For Designing With Type" has good -if now somewhat dated- examples of usage.

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habitat_(retailer)

--

Here's an image of his original character set, from Pardoe:


But it's not an exceptionally good sample.
(And you can see where Licko got her "R"...)
-
The best samples are probably in Paul Bennett's "Books and printing; a treasury for typophiles". There's also a very good enlargement in an old article by Philip Gaskell in the APHA Journal. Unless of course you can get your hands on an original. :-) BTW, somewhat easier in this respect is getting one's hands on a volume of Beaumarchais's printing of Voltaire's complete works using his original type (if not his original paper/ink technologies).
-
hhp

hrant's picture

BTW, who wrote that Mrs Eaves is a "technical tour the force" in the wiki? Guy, spacing is the first technical thing that a font has to worry about, and Mrs Eaves is a crash & burn case of spacing. Somebody please fix that.

hhp

poms's picture

@hrant
What is the best digital version of Baskerville in your opinion?

hrant's picture

The next one... :-)

I like Fountain's. For the "g". It's very important to me.

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture

I've always liked the swash J, K, N, T and Y of the Italic.
In hot metal, they were available as standard from Monotype, I believe, and as alternates from Linotype, but dropped by most phototype and digital manufacturers.

Goudy used the same idea in some of his italics, and so have I.

paul d hunt's picture

The next one… :-)

Baskerville Next?
>^P

hrant's picture

> I’ve always liked the swash J, K, N, T and Y of the Italic.

But they're like a group of misfits in high school. The errant distribution of swashes in the original Baskerville italic seems to have been a result of a rush job; as in "I spent seven years on the Roman, I'll be damned if I do that again!" It's an example of a failure in moving from calligraphy to type. And every revival so far has either copied his bad decisions, or simply dumped all the swashes.

BTW, the ATF Baskerville (which is actually the Fry version, especially at sizes above 12) had the best collection of alternates.

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture

Those ATF swashes are, well, swashy, and a bit too slick. They belong more to Caslon than Baskerville. The great thing about JB's "swash" caps is that they don't stand out too much.

But they’re like a group of misfits in high school.

You could say the same about the typical roman lower case. "g" must have spent a lot of time in the principal's office.

IMO, JB was considering the contrast between the angularity of the italic caps and round lower case forms, and wanted to lessen the contrast between them, so introduced a few softer characters.

hrant's picture

> The great thing about JB’s “swash” caps is that they don’t stand out too much.

?

--

The "g" is indeed a misfit. The smart one.

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture

they don’t stand out too much

The gist of my post referred to upper and lower case, in which kind of a setting the swashes are quite at ease. However, even in an all cap setting--properly letterspaced--as I said, they don't stand out too much. Just enough.

hrant's picture

I'm seeing an "N" yelling "look at me"! Very anti-font.

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture

Its natural environment:

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