An Introduction to the History of Printing Types: An Illustrated Summary of the Main Stages in the Development of Type Design from 1440 up to the Present Day: An Aid to Type Face Identification

By Geoffrey Dowding | Go to book overview
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The Modernized Italics

Of the italic faces, we have already noted the Aldine, the Vicentino and the group which is the contemporary of old-face roman. Here it is convenient to describe the fourth group--the modernized italics.

We have seen that the setting of whole books in italic was a common practice in the sixteenth century. This use of italic as an independent letter, that is, as a type form distinct from roman, continued throughout the seventeenth century also, no attempt being made to mate italic to roman until Grandjean cut the romains du roi. But in the first half of the seventeenth century appeared an italic which is remarkable for its condensation, an effect in part obtained by the designer romanizing certain letters--see the m and n, and also the a in our illustration.

In Grandjean's cutting of an italic for the romain du roi 'we find a deliberate attempt to make the secondary type conform to the roman.'1 He romanized the a, m and n, & thus made the slope of the italic lower- case more regular. He was the first to introduce the straight-shanked lower-case h in italic (previously h).The slope of his italic capitals was to some extent regularized also.

Alexandre, Grandjean's successor at the Imprimerie Royale, maintained this trend towards modernization. By 1712 he had altered the cursive beginning strokes of the lower-case letters. He 'reduced these

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A. F. Johnson. Type Designs: their History and Development.

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An Introduction to the History of Printing Types: An Illustrated Summary of the Main Stages in the Development of Type Design from 1440 up to the Present Day: An Aid to Type Face Identification
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