Foundry type in 1705 England?

charles ellertson's picture

I sorta kinda would like to identify the family used for

The History and Present State of Virginia, in Four Parts.

Not the 1940-whatever edition put out by UNC press, the 1705 edition, with this imprint

London: Printed for R. Parker, at the Unicorn, under the Piazza's of the Royal-Exchange.

Even though what I've got to look at are distorted photocopies, I freely admit that identifying old foundry fonts lies outside, nay, far outside my skill set. & that at that time in England, the types could have come from anywhere. Well, they're not German. France, Italy, and Neiderland are still in the running. They are quite condensed for the time, and the varying slopes of the ascenders in the italic remind me of Jannons exuberance.

Part of the point of identifying the font is to point out to the customer that no, we can't make it look like that edition, that the types used in England at that time weren't particularly "English," (correct me if I'm wrong), and if they want allusive typography, they might want to pick a different theme to allude to.

Thanks for any help,

Joshua Langman's picture

I don't suppose you could upload an image showing the type? I'd be glad to help if you can provide us with a sample.

oldnick's picture

IIRC, most foundry type used in England at that time was probably of Dutch origin. Most of the British foundries didn’t come into their own until the 1800s.

HVB's picture

Did you provide links to some images? I'm afraid my personal library is insufficiently extensive.

William Berkson's picture

This is pre-Caslon—who starts in about 1725 IIRC—so to ID the type you'll need a real historian of type like James Mosley. You can reach him through the link at his blog:

But as far as allusive typography, Bruce Kennett did a book for the Folger Shakespeare Library's Folio Mania!, about Shakespeare's first folio. The first folio is early 1600s. He laid out the book in the two column style with italic & swash caps at the top, like Shakespeare's actual First Filio. And he used my Williams Caslon Text, with my swash letters at the top. This was mixed with photos of pages from the First Folio, as well as portraits from the time, etc. I'm prejudiced, but I think it worked out really well. You can see some samples here and here.

I think it worked out partly because Caslon's point of departure were those types of the previous century, such as you probably have in your 1705 book.

The reprint of a 1652 book, Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum, also used my Williams Caslon Text, again throwing around the swash caps and mixing in the original illustrations. Somehow it works, as you can see here. They used my font quite often at larger sizes than I intended, but it then looks like a result of old letter press ink spread.

DTY's picture

I don't have any ability to distinguish Dutch punchcutters of the seventeenth century, but if the client insists on the idea of digital type resembling the 1705 edition, then based on the title page images at, I'd guess the Fell Types (1680s-90s) might be a reasonable approximation. And as for your point about not being English, Marini's site indicates that the fonts Fell bought were mostly Dutch, with some French italics in the larger sizes:

I haven't tried working with them myself, so can't comment on how much reworking they might require.

charles ellertson's picture

And as for your point about not being English, Marini's site indicates that the fonts Fell bought were mostly Dutch, with some French italics in the larger sizes...

Even more than that. In Jaspert et al., Encyclopedia of type faces, you'll find in the notes to the Fell Roman "But some of these types, like the one shown here, are probably of French origin." That's the text-size "Fell Roman."

Robert Granjon worked in Antwerp a while. And of course, though working in Neiderland, Kis was Hungarian & probably familiar with the work of the Venetians. Those old punchcutters moved around.

What's always a danger with one of these project is that the half-informed will charge you made a bad decision

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