Old Serif Typeface

askadrian's picture

Type is from an early New Zealand book called "A Karao New Zealand" I have tried to identify it visually and has come back looking very similar to Miller Display Roman & EF Century Expanded Volume but the lower case t and a few other letters come back slightly different.

Also the ? is quite interesting as well.

Any help to identify this would be greatly appreciated.

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donshottype's picture

This is in the "Modern" type design category created by by Giambattista Bodoni of Parma in 1767. It was very popular for book faces in the decades around 1840. Does your Karao have a publication date?

I can't decide if this is a Bodoni or a Scotch Roman, an early 19th century modification of Bodoni first cut by Englishman Richard Austin and cast by the Scottish type-founder Alexander Wilson and Son in Glasgow. Also produced by William Miller. In either case the type for the Karao is probably from a British Foundry like Stephenson Blake.

The digital Scotch Romans cut by Monotype on the basis of the Miller Scotch Romans http://www.identifont.com/find?font=scotch+roman&q=Go do not include a heavy weight that might be a better match for the Karao. There is a heavier weight in a modern reinterpretation Escrow Bold http://www.identifont.com/find?font=escrow+text&q=Go

The Kararo has a _Q_ that differs from the common Bodoni that has a tail that first descends vertically. Scotch Romans have a _Q_ like Karao.

The Kararo has figures [numbers] that are similar to Scotch Roman.

In some ways the letters are a better fit with some Bodoni's rather than with the Scotch Romans. Most foundries of the era produced Bodoni. There were variations in some letters and the italics varied from true italics like the Karao to sloped Romans. The digital Bodonis sold to day follow the the re-cuttings for metal type done in the early 20th century. Some are a closer match than others.
Bauer Bodoni http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/linotype/bauer-bodoni/ is a fair match for most of the letters.

BTW the figures [numbers] of the era were not necessarily part of the same font, and were usually sold separately.

The question mark looks somewhat similar to a Didot http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/linotype/didot/

All things considered, the Karao is probably set in a heavy Scotch Roman, but it could be a heavier Bodoni, mixed with Scotch Roman figures and perhaps letters. Printers of the era used what was at hand and mixing fonts was not rare.

askadrian's picture

Thanks for your help, the book was published in 1815 so your timeline connects quite well. I appreciate your thorough answer as well.

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