Beatrice Warde was, by all accounts, a formidable woman. Typographic expert, friend and lover of Stanley Morison, a woman in a man’s world, Beatrice gave it as she saw it.
Born in the USA in 1900 [her mum was a literary critic, dad a composer], she moved to Europe to pursue her typographic career after learning her trade from Henry Lewis Bullen.
Now there’s another story. Mr Bullen [1857-1938] was born here in Australia [Ballarat], before emigrating to the States in 1875, ending up creating one of the greatest typographic libraries for the American Type Founders Co. [This is now with Columbia University.]
Back to Beatrice. She posed for Eric Gill [was one of his 25 Nudes, though which of the rather stylised cuts is unclear], caused Stanley to end his marriage, he spent the rest of his life in celibacy [being Catholic] and she became champion of the ‘traditionalist’ form.
John Dreyfus wrote this of Beatrice in the Penrose Annual : ‘She was a strikingly handsome woman…If she had wished, she could easily have built up her
reputation on charm alone. But her mind was too questing and honest to avoid intellectual problems. She thought out everything for herself and never lacked the courage to do what she thought needful’. There writes a man. [By the by, the 1970 Penrose has a cover design by David Kindersley.]
PS – anyone want to write a biography of Beatrice? It’s well overdue.