1880 Display font

seanos's picture


Font: 
Monastic
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TexasPipeliner's picture

Sylfaen Regular Font is and was the only thing i was able to get close, www.identifont.com is a great and very helpful font search engine iv used yet!

donshottype's picture

Here is the story of the typeface. The basic form is a Latin, i.e. triangular serifs.

According to Gray's _Nineteenth Century Ornamented Types_
The basic alphabet seems to have been designed by Caslon in 1864; it is a triangular serifed letter with broken cross-bar to A and H, serifed apex to A, conspicuously canted serifs to T and E, a splayed M and N with a bottom serif to the diagonal which presages the drooping tails which are the characteristic of developed Monastic. This original design (called Old Face no. 2) does not seem to have had much success, but as developed into Monastic, which was first shown by Caslon (as Venetian) in the same year it became enormously popular. It represents the least creative, the pseudo-antiquarian and arty side of Victorian letter design. There was no lower case, but larger, more ornamented initials were provided to be combined with the upper case—possibly indeed with an upper case of quite different design—the idea of decorated initials was coming in. Tails were also added to other faces, Latins, Runics, Tuscans.

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In the U.S. Monastic is shown in the Boston Type Foundry specimen book of 1865.
It was soon sold by most major foundries and was popular until the end of the 19th century.

Monastic is the usual name but it was also sometimes sold as Ancient or Venetian.

Don

seanos's picture

Thanks Don! Pseudo-antiquarian probably sums it up quite well. I’ve just been glancing at another publication from the same printer, same year and the same font.

I wasn’t expecting a digitised version to exist.

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