Friday, March 25, 2011

The Perfect Page

A page of printed black text. There are minor blue and red accents.
An imperfect image of a perfect page
In 1470 Nicolas Jenson printed the first book to employ his new Roman type, Eusebius's De euangelica praeparatione. Jenson is believed to have come to Venice from Germany where he had learned the new craft of printing. When he set up his own printing house in Venice, he cut his type to reflect the humanist hand favored by Italian scribes. The result is the grandfather of all Roman typefaces, one that is still emulated today.

Jenson is also famous for his austere text blocks, perfect in proportion and obsessive in layout and typography. Below is T.J. Cobden Sanderson's homage to Jenson, his The English Bible (Hammersmith: Doves Press, 1903).

A page of text printed in black with no paragraph breaks.
To see Jenson's masterpiece, ask for Incunabula 54. For the Doves Bible, ask for Hickmott 94.

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