Thoughts on lettering

Royal weddings, coronations and typography

First. To make it clear. I am not a Royalist. Being British by birth carries its burdens, one of them class. I always feel uncomfortable when in the company of a person of a different ‘class’. Try explaining that to an Australian! Or an American. Yet it is true. What is class? It means you have been born to ‘something’. Usually something old and landed. Now there is to be another Royal wedding. To Hell with them but it does raise some interesting typographic questions. What form will the invitations take? Perhaps William and his beloved ( a commoner for God’s sake – though not really. I wouldn’t feel confident in her company) might care to look at how his grandmother did things in 1953 when she was crowned. These from the Penrose volume of 1954. The first from the University of Oxford. What typeface did they use? I wonder if it was Fell. It has a certain quirkiness about it.

The next from ‘my’ University, Cambridge. (Before you ask, yes I did feel uncomfortable and one of the Royals, I think it Edward, was there at the same time as me and, God forsake, studying the same degree – Archaeology – as me. He moved on to Art History in the second year and that’s when we lost contact, and that’s why I remain a plain Mr and not a Sir.)

Finally, there is the Royal printer, then Harrison & Sons of High Wycombe (a Gill connection and a town where I lived for many years). Actually they were the printers to the late George VI (God rest his soul!) but because of etiquette – another English trait – were kept on and busy in the preparations for Liz’s nuptials. There’s some more from Harrison, the seating plan, which I will post tomorrow. Makes fascinating reading.