‘Why are William Caslon’s types so excellent and so famous? To explain this & make it really clear is difficult. While he modelled his letters on Dutch types, they were much better; for he introduced in to his founts a quality of interest, a variety of design and a delicacy of modelling which few Dutch types possessed. Dutch founts were monotonous, but Caslon’s founts were not so. His letters analysed are not perfect individually; but in mass their effect is agreeable. That is, i think, their secret – a perfection of the whole, derived from harmonious but not necessarily perfect individual letter-forms. To say precisely how Caslon arrived at his effects is not simple; but he did so because he was an artist. He knew how to make types, if ever a man did, that were ‘friendly to the eye’, or comfortable – to use Dibdin’s happy term. Furthermore, his types are thoroughly English. There are other letters more elegant; for the Caslon characters do not compare in that respect with the letters of Garamond or Grandjean. But in their defects and qualities they are also the result of a taste typically Anglo-Saxon, and so represent to us the flowering of a sturdy English tradition in typography. Caslon types are, too, so beautiful in mass, and above all so legible and ‘common sense’, that they can never be disregarded, & I doubt if they will ever be displaced.’
A fount of 24-point Caslon.
Cast at the Whittington Press using hardened Monotype.