I have unearthed three more specimens from the late 1980s. The last from WH Smith is very elaborate, and was used by the company for a long while I seem to remember. Clearly the designer knew a thing or two about using pure typography for design purposes. See, by contrast, a page of typographic flowers from the Monotype Recorder of Spring 1960 which follows. (More on flowers to follow in other posts methinks – and, as always, click to enlarge in new window.)
I do not collect postage stamps but for some reason or other (no doubt because of the lettering) I kept this one from a visit to France in the early 1990s. I came across it in my very infrequent Journal, in which I write now and again about stuff that interests me.
Anyhow, it might spark some interest somewhere, and lead to new discoveries. I am sure there are plenty.
I know this ain’t got much to do with typography (though the border is a nice touch) but I can’t resist posting this image, again from the 1954 Penrose volume, and worthy of close examination as to the state of England in the 50s. I post it without further ado. Enjoy. Let the names roll around your mouth as you say them aloud, especially ‘The Rod with the Dove borne by The Duke of Richmond and Gordon his coronet carried by his page Simon Benton-Jones, Esq.’ Priceless. [Do click to enlarge.]
Can’t leave the letter R without a couple more illustrations, both from the Catich volume mentioned before – The Origin of the Serif. Both are brush drawn. The first also shows the various elements of the letter, while the second is simply an exercise in brush-manship, of which Catich (and more about him in another post) was an expert. It is also the cover of the paperback edition I have. Will also have more to write about brush lettering, and its relationship to stone carving. I also touched on this before.
I was taught how to make one of these hats, beloved of Gill, but also worn by tradesman in the printing industry, by a fellow who worked in the composing room of the Financial Times when I first started there as a journalist in the late 1980s.At that point the FT was located at Bracken House, a fine red brick building opposite St Paul’s, with the printing presses in the basement and sub-basement. Hot metal was still much in use when I arrived, though it was on the way out. I still remember how the building shook when the presses were started up for the first edition at about 9pm. (We even had our own in house pub – more a bar but beloved by journos and printers alike.)
When I was working on the Gill project in 1990 at my private press (see previous post on Pigotts) I made a hundred of these hats, printed on newsprint, with Perpetua Titling around the ‘rim’ and an extract from his Essay on Typography on the top.
It was a huge success and sold out very quickly. This is the only one I have left, number 1!