Sixteenth-century printing types of the Low Countries
Amsterdam, Menno Hertzberger & Co., 1968
(31 cm), xxv, 376 pp., 267 illustrations. Publisher’s cloth, pictorial dust jacket. - A book of great value to students of type design, to those concerned with types in relation to history or to the transmission of texts, and to anyone required to identify and catalogue books. Vervliet describes and illustrates 154 types made in the Low Countries in the 16th century, names the punch-cutters responsible for the majority of them (86), and cites the earliest appearance he has been able to trace for each type. He documents their use outside the Low Countries (23 were used in books printed in England or Scotland) and longevity (some types remained in use until the end of the 17th century). Vervliet shows that the method developed by Haebler and later incunabulists, which seeks to identify different types with individual printers, is inapplicable for the 16th century, by which time several printers had acquired identical types, either in the form of matrices or castings. No assumptions can be made from ownership of a particular typeface; in the later period, what is important is the peculiar combination of typefaces: if a printer makes use of as many as four distinct typefaces, then conclusions can be drawn about his identity. Among the personalities to emerge in this work is the punch-cutter Henrik van den Keere, of Ghent, who in a short life – ended after a leg injury in his early forties – cut twelve gothics, one rotunda, one civilité, two uncials, nine roman and seven music types. Vervliet considers him as the link between the French school of punch cutters, which dominated the 16th century, and the Dutch school, which led Europe in the 17th century. Reviewed by Nicolas Barker, in The Book Collector, Winter 1968, pp.495-506; and by John Dreyfus, in The Times Literary Supplement, 5 September 1968, p.952. ¶ As new.