Anybody got info on the metal font Subiaco? (metal & contextual)

ebensorkin's picture

Anybody got info on the metal font Subiaco? It's from the Ashendene Press.

I'll post samples later today. It's another face like Spiral & Bremmer's: metal & contextual.

I have some additional cool stuff too that relates to Subiaco too c.15th century... more info when I have checked my facts a bit more.

ebensorkin's picture

Paul Shaw says that

the face was based on the type of Conrad Schwenheym and Arnold Pannartz used in the books they printed at Subiaco in Italy in 1465. It was cut by Edward Prince.

Edward would have cut it around 1902 or therabouts I think. My sample image ( i will post it soon) was printed in 1909.

Thanks Paul!

Miss Tiffany's picture

1902? or 1502?

Celeste's picture

1902 — Edward Prince had previously cut William Morris’s Golden Type and later on worked on a roman for Count Harry Kessler's Cranach-Presse. The Subiaco type seems to have been used in the Ashendene Press edition of Dante’s Inferno in 1902.

ebensorkin's picture

Here is a sample. This is from a photo repro-specimen, not an original. So it is quite a soft image. Note the variety of "a" shapes maybe a total of 4. There are two "t" shapes as well. I am not sure I have found all the contextual variations yet.

The type that inspired this font is in fact from the 15th century - printed at Subiaco in Italy in 1465.

I am looking for good images of those original types now as well as better images of the Ashendene type called Subaico. This type is a transition from blackletter to roman. Conrad Schwenheym and Arnold Pannartz moved from Germany to Italy.

"Originally from near Mainz, Germany, Sweynheym with Arnold Pannartz established (c.1464) in the monastery of Subiaco the first known printing press in Italy. Sweynheym and Pannartz first used Greek type there in 1465. They moved to Rome in 1467."

Some people think that that "Sweinheim/Sweynheym worked at Eltville with Gutenberg in 1461-64."

And look! Tiff wrote about it too

Miss Tiffany's picture

I was writing about the type from the 15th Century though.

kegler's picture

The book on Edward Prince has some info. I will dig it out.

ebensorkin's picture

A bit more background from Leeds:

"In 1901 Emery Walker and Sydney Cockerell designed the famous ‘Subiaco’ fount for the Press, which was based on the Sweynheym-Pannartz typeface that Morris had once used as a model for a typeface he never finished. The fount was eagerly received by Hornby, who had been greatly influenced by Morris’s principles of good printing through an inspiring afternoon spent at the Kelmscott Press in 1895."

ebensorkin's picture

A sample of the Sweynheym-Pannartz typeface taken from here:

John Hudson's picture

Eben, I'm pretty sure the ra and ta combinations in the Ashendene Subiaco are ligatures, but that's just a practical method for implementing the shape variation relationship in the metal type; if Prince were working with OpenType, he might well choose to take the contextual alternates approach.

Ross was very interested in both the original Sweynheym and Pannartz faces and the Ashendene version. I'll draw his attention to this thread.

ebensorkin's picture

I’m pretty sure the ra and ta combinations in the Ashendene Subiaco are ligatures

Me too. :-)

I found one more example from this time period. It a book printed in 1469, by Johann ( and maybe Wendelin too - I am not 100% sure about that ) of Speyer (de Spira). It's not something I am sure about like this but I am reasonably confident. I will make separate thread for that.

There is also is slight possibility that there is a Jenson - which would be pretty wild I think. I am not holding my breath on that one but he was working at the same time and I seem to recall his sort of taking over the de Spira business or something. Anyway - there was I think a real relationship of some kind. That one has a thread already.

I would appreciate any help you guys can muster in finding better images for these 3 examples!


ebensorkin's picture

More Images


I will be posting other images from original source material later.

This image BTW is from the book "The Ashendene Press" by Colin Franklin (1986). It's is a marvelous book in many many ways including it's cover binding etc. But my favorite aspect is the notes passed back & forth between Hornby & Prince during the development of the Ashendene revival.

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