During the first forty years of the nineteenth century English book typography, with the exception of some notable examples, had little to commend it. Some good work was produced in transitional types of near modern flavour.
William Blades regarded the year 1820 'as a boundary line between the old and new style of punch-cutting. About that time great changes were initiated in the faces of types of all kinds. The thick strokes were made much thicker and the free strokes much finer, the old ligatures were abolished and a mechanical primness given to the page, which . . . could scarcely be called improvement. At the same time, printers began to crowd their racks with fancy founts of all degrees of grotesqueness, many painfully bad to the eye and unprofitable alike to founder and printer.'1 And Mr D. B. Updike writing of the fall in standards of type design in the early years of the nineteenth century blamed Robert Thorne, who introduced the full modern face into this country as 'responsible for the vilest form of type invented--up to that time' ( 1803) & further remarks that 'A tide of bad taste (in modern face) had swept everything before it by 1844--the precise year of the revival of Caslon's earliest types!'2 This revival was the work of the Whittinghams of the famous Chiswick Press whose use of the original Caslon types in The Diary of Lady Willoughby ( 1844) marked the beginning of their return to favour. This revived use of the earliest Caslon types--in the com-____________________