Wednesday, March 5, 2014

IDENTIFY this type and these pages from a Rare Book.

The pages were among some printing equipment donated to Foothill College by a San Francisco Printer's widow. So far my research has determined the origin to be an English printer from the 19th Century. The pages are from the Reverend John Fox's Book of Martyrs. After the Bible, it is the most frequently reprinted book in the English language.

The Book of Martyrs was first published in 1563. John Day, a famous English printer publish a folio size in 1570. The complete book is almost 1000 pages. It has been published in 2 volumes, octavo size many times but my interest is in a folio size book, 10" x 16". My samples are folio size with double column text blocks, a running head with a rule below on most text pages and a double rule down the middle between the text blocks. I have found several examples via Google book search that are folio with double columns and a running head but so far no double rule. Here is a photo of a page and a spread.

Some similar editions I have found were one published by Thomas Kelly in London, 1822, another by John Malham in 1830 and a third by John Cumming in 1844. I am resonably sure this time period is correct by analyzing the type style. The type appears to be a close match to William Thorowgood's type of 1824. The "?" is quite distinctive and unusual. Here is a close up to show it. The Italic is also close to one used by Thorowgood. The loop on the top left of all the lower case "r"s is very distinctive.

It also looks a lot like a Didot but why would an English printer be using a French Modern type? Anyone have any ideas?

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