Scotch Roman

Will Miller's picture

i've been reading 'anatomy of a typeface' and just got to the Caledonia chapter. i find Caledonia so wonderful. i couldnt put it into words. but the book mentions the face was created based on the idea of improving or refurbishing Scotch Roman.

i was wondering if anyone had some good links or some good info on Scotch Roman...i'm thinking something more about it's history and how it came about. 'anatomy...' seems very brief when talking about Scotch Roman


paul d hunt's picture

just a blurb on the site for FB Miller. and just a bit more on the page for FB Scotch.

hrant's picture

I might search the APHA journal.


Norbert Florendo's picture

Linotype refers to Scotch Roman designs first cut by Englishman Richard Austin and cast by the Scottish typefounder Alexander Wilson and Son in Glasgow. A.D. Farmer is also credited by Linotype.

twardoch's picture

I'd say Georgia is a Scotch Roman.


Maxim Zhukov's picture

Many typefaces that Matthew Carter, the designer of Georgia, did in the last twenty years are, in fact, Scotch Romans: Miller, in its many versions and varieties, and also Vincent, and Big Figgins, and Elephant. And one, lesser known but exquisite, typeface he designed a couple of years ago for Princeton University Press, a new, digital, version of Linotype Monticello (né Binny & Ronaldson's "Pica Roman No. 1"), which is yet another Scotch Roman.

Will, you're right: Lawson's coverage of Monotype Bell, ATF Ofxord, Linotype Monticello, and the whole [sub?]category of Scoth Romans (in his Anatomy of a Typeface) is probably the best there is...

William Berkson's picture

Caledonia is great. Matthew Carter also did a Caledonia, three versions, for Time magazine. If my memory serves me, New Caledonia, the generally available digital version, suffers from the paleness of many early digital reproductions of metal typefaces.

hrant's picture

> né Binny & Ronaldson’s “Pica Roman No. 1”

I'm pretty sure it was called "#2", but I can double-check if anybody is interested. Anyway, it is indeed a great workhorse (Updike used it for his monumental "Printing Types"), and not without character. The "g" in particular is just what's needed.


Maxim Zhukov's picture

> if anybody is interested.

I am...

speter's picture

The specimen that Carter handed out when he presented Monticello at the Grolier Club calls it Binny & Ronaldson Pica Roman, No. 1 (Oxford).

Maxim Zhukov's picture

I know. I have it too (I've been to Carter and Creesy's lecture at Grolier). Also, what Wilson shows on p. 232 of his book is "PICA ROMAN, No. 1", from B&R specimen of 1812.

hrant's picture

Yes, besides the recent digital Monticello specimen (which I also have, thanks to Andy Crewdson - I hope he resurfaces one day...), Lawson* refers to the #1, and Updike has a passing reference too (look under "Oxford"). So I stand corrected - my bad. There was a "spike" in my memory about the numbering of the B&R stuff, and I think it was due to two things: the #1 was the second font they made (or at least finished); the #2 is listed first in the 1812, while the #1 is listed second. And I think I remember reading some author wondering about the preculiar numbering of the B&R #1... but at this point I think I'll give my memory the short vacation it apparently needs.

* Maxim's "Wilson" slip just now must be due to another Scotch designer, Alexander Wilson; and/or the really good Scotch design from The Foundry by that name.

> I know.

I knew you knew (once you replied).
Feel free to save me the digging next time! :-)


raph's picture

I have 200dpi scans of the ATF 1912 pages for 36-72pt Scotch Roman and 6-30pt Scotch Roman. Hope you guys find these useful.

hrant's picture

BTW, something else I rediscovered while going through my PaGA stuff the other day is a pretty in-depth article on B&R #1 by P J Conkwright.


matteson's picture

Will, IIRC you're in Chicago. You should visit the Newberry. They have several specimen books you may be interested in looking at:

  • 1812 Binny & Ronaldson Specimen
  • 1819 Alex. Wilson & Sons Specimen
  • 1828 Alex. Wilson & Sons Specimen
  • Several Miller & Richards specimens from 1863 through 1906

If you have trouble finding them, let me know. I have the call numbers for them filed somewhere.

Will Miller's picture

matteson, exactly. my next thing in the city to check out is the newberry for sure. i keep hearing about these amazing works they have that i had no idea about. i will let you know if i have trouble

btw, really enjoyed a few of your photographs


emquad's picture

I know this discussion was in 2005 but you may still be interested in pursuing it. James Mosley wrote a piece called "Scotch Roman: What it is and how it got its name" in Ampersand, quarterly journal of the pacific center for book arts, vol 17, nos 3 & 4, 1986. i believe binny & ronaldson type was modeled after the Bell & Stephenson type (also by Austin but much earlier than the Scotch faces). Monticello & Oxford are based on that earlier style, rather than Scotch. I have a chapter on the relation between Austin and the two Scotch founders, Wilson of Glasgow and Miller of Edinburgh in my forthcoming book on Richard Austin. The first showing of the new Scotch type was in 1811 (Edinburgh) & 1812 (Glasgow). There was an 1809 specimen but it is now lost.
(Alastair Johnston)

Nick Shinn's picture

Looking forward to the Austin book.
How will you be reproducing the specimens?

emquad's picture

Actual size photos, 300 dpi. James Mosley photographed the entire 1827 Imperial Letter-Foundery Specimen for me which I include complete (at the suggestion of Matthew Carter). I also include 4 pages from Miller 1813, 3 from Wilson of 1812, a Fry broadside, 4 pp from the Wood & Sharwood specimen of 1838, a couple of broadsides, and a couple of surprise showings (previously unpublished -- well, they are all previously unpublished, I mean previously unknown) of the Bell types, artwork for the Porson greek, a page of Porson and a page showing the Sarcophagus Greek, which I am attributing to Austin.

hrant's picture


Sarcophagus Greek

Wow, like a Chinese restaurant that serves sushi too.


John Hudson's picture

Hrant, you do know that sarcophagus is a Greek word, right?

hrant's picture

I'm always more concerned with where a word is than where it was.


quadibloc's picture

After some Googling, I found another Typophile thread, and a few other results, which note that Edward Daniel Clarke was involved in creating the typeface for Cambridge, and it has the historical distinction of being a sans-serif typeface which pre-dated the famous "Two-Line English Egyptian" by Caslon!

emquad's picture

Here is Sarcophagus Greek in all its glory. It is indeed a sans serif and undoubtedly influenced John Flaxman who illustrated Greek Marbles of Edw Clarke, where it was first used. Full story to come, including why it is almost certainly by Richard Austin, in my forthcoming monograph.

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