Van Dijck 14-point Roman

A quarter strength jobbing fount of 14-point roman.

Christoffel Van Dijck, the leading Dutch type founder in the middle of the seventeenth century, followed on from Garamond in developing the Aldine tradition of roman type design. In an article in Signature, No. 6 (July 1937), Harry Carter wrote: Van Dijck may be put in historical perspective as the best exponent of the well-rounded, large-bodied style of lettering that was in fashion just before the tendency towards the modern cut gave type design a revolutionary turn at the beginning of the eighteenth century’.

His types were used by a number of English printers, and Moxon says of them that they possessed ‘all the accomplishments that can render Letter regular and beautiful’. Caslon modelled his own types on them, and the similarity is so close that the types used in Selden’s Works (1726) were ascribed to Caslon, until they were found to be those of Van Dijck and Johannes Kannewt.

In the Enschede specimen book of 1768, a roman and italic were attributed to Van Dijck, but only the punches of the italic had survived. It was the intention of the Monotype Corporation to copy these two specimens when a Van Dijck series was contemplated in the early thirties, and Jan Van Krimpen was called in to advise. He doubted whether the two faces were the work of the same hand and whether either of them actually originated with Van Dijck. He decided to keep to the design of the italic but to look elsewhere for a roman companion. He eventually found a suitable roman, which appeared to him to come from the same designer as the italic, in a ¬†translation of Ovid’s Metamorphosis, printed in Amsterdam in 1671. Six experimental punches were cut by P. H. Radisch; these were used as a guide for the Corporation’s cutting of the 13-point size in the following year, and a range of sizes was released in 1937. Series 203 may not claim direct ancestry to Van Dijck, but it is still a fitting tribute to a great master of letter cutting.

Extract from A Miscellany of Type, (Whittington, 1990)


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