Romain du Roi Sample

dan_reynolds's picture

Does anyone know of a book, or other source, with good reproductions of the Romain du Roi drawings?

ben_archer's picture

Try this Dan

http://www.irisa.fr/faqtypo/truchet/truchet2E.html

there is a reproduction of the uppercase G you might like

hrant's picture

Dan, there's a book:
"Le romain du roi: la typographie au service de l'

dan_reynolds's picture

Hrant, Do you know this well (have a copy yourself)? Does it have good, large illustrations? Are they relatively complete? I'm intrested in experimenting with digitalizing RdR

hrant's picture

I don't have the book - but I know that Robin Kinross does.
I think you should buy it, then send me copies of the juicy bits. :->

In terms of illustrations, the one plate with all the lc glyphs (except the "g" - tellingly, since it's so hard to fit on a grid) is pretty easy to find in books - it's not "complete" though. There's also a plate of the italic in something Smeijers once published, I think. Then I'm having this vision of all the UC glyphs in the RdR on facing pages, but I can't remember where I saw that. Sorry.

Digitizing the RdR would be a great project - it's shocking that there hasn't been one yet. You might contact the Imprimerie Nationale of France for leads, and maybe informal "permission" as well. But if they say "no" do it anyway - tell them it belongs to the "patrimoine humaine", not them. :-)

hhp

dan_reynolds's picture

see, I wouldn't really be able to tell you what the juicy bits are

hrant's picture

Latin? Yeah, I'm sure the Latin edition can't be far off. ;-)
It's impressive that you know Latin though. What kind of accent do you have? :-)

I'll be missing Prague, unfortunately. Damn shame, since it's my second favorite city in the world (after Barcelona). But if we ever figure out what I'd like to have from the RdR book, I would like to make you copies from something I have that you need. Hey, I have a lot of stuff about old French type design... in French. :->

--

BTW, I've been looking, and that plate I mentioned can be found in Friedel et alia's "Typography" encyclopedia, under Grandjean (p 254). He even shows a setting of the italic, which is not easy to find. But where I saw the plate of the italic still escapes me.

hhp

dan_reynolds's picture

I cannot speak Latin. I used to be able to read it well enough to please old Jesuit priests

dan_reynolds's picture

Thanks for reminding me about this thread. Its got me thinking about double-serifed ascenders, italics, and that additional form on the letter el

I followed that discussion as it unfolded

hrant's picture

I found the italic plate - and it had nothing to do with Smeijers.

It's in "Ligatures & caract

dan_reynolds's picture

Yes, I would work from the drawings and not Grandjean's actual punches or types.

I'm interested by Smeijers' ideas in Counterpunch

dan_reynolds's picture

>burp!<

Post 200

hrant's picture

The RdR committee's engravings (I mistakenly wrote "drawings" before) were simply too precise. Without a pantograph it would have been impossible to get high fidelity. And then there was the issue of optical scaling you mention: it was something Grandjean implemented of course*, but either the committee didn't understand its need (only one of its members had any idea of type) or they created the "spirit" and expected Grandjean to "distill" it in the smaller sizes (which is not unreasonable). The way Grandjean totally dumped the engraved italic however was not a matter of accuracy though, but of taste and practicality.

* Some people say that -because of the "physicality of scale"- the pre-pantographic designers didn't really see optical scaling the way we do, they "just did it", making each size look "correct". Some however were more sloppy than others - Caslon for example was just wanton in terms of consistency (although the variance in the italic "Q" is genial).

--

Dan, a question: would you make a literal revival, or a mild adaptation? I think if you want this to be more than of historical interest, if you want people to use it to give their setting the RdR "air" but in a versatile manner, you should take some small-to-medium liberties with it.

hhp

dan_reynolds's picture

Don't know yet

nwe44's picture

For what its worth, Smeijers' new book, 'Type now' mentions the Roi in passing, has two plates ('

lettertiep's picture

Maybe a stupid remark, but can't you contact the "Imprimerie Nationale" in Paris (www.imprimerienationale.fr)?

I was there last year, and if I'm not mistaken, they still have the original punches (in the "Cabinet des pion

dan_reynolds's picture

Well, Letter, you're right

giasson's picture

Hi guys,
there are two digitisation of the Romains du Roy that I know of:

giasson's picture

I guess I should precise that the specimens are text settings, not AZaz09...

hrant's picture

Patrick, thanks!
Where is the best place to buy the Jalleau book?
Do you know if the italics are from the plates or are they the Grandjean substitution?

hhp

giasson's picture

Hi Hrant,
I'm not totally sure what I wrote was clear; the" Jalleau book" is the book "Le Romain du Roi: La typographie au service de l

hrant's picture

I didn't know that the committee had actually drawn a "true" italic.

> a font based on that sloped roman model was
> cut and cast at the request of Benjamin Franklin

Huh.
I wonder how one could track that down.

hhp

giasson's picture

Hm, fancy taking a trip to Philly?
In the RdR book there is a small reproduction

hrant's picture

Dan, over the weekend I did something I should have done much earlier: check the wonderful Imprimerie Nationale specimen book of 1990, which shows the bulk of their metal collection in great depth and detail.

First of all, there's a font called Jaugeon (in 12 sizes from 6 to 20) which is basically a very close rendering of the original engraved plates, done in the beginning of the 20th century. To me it's very attractive, and actually has a nice dark color. The italic is NOT the one shown in the plates* (it doesn't have all those serifs), but it's much more rigid and regular than Grandjean's cut. And the italic has some strange features, like a somewhat blackletter-style "k", and get this, it has those short lefthand spikes on the ascenders on the "h" and "k" as well as the "el", not that even the "el" needs the spike** in the italic, since it was there to differentiate the lc roman "el" from the cap roman "I", but in the italic that problem is gone! Very strange.

* And I guess this means the RdR had three italics...

** BTW, I realize now that the claim that Grandjean incorporated the spike of the "el" is bogus, since the source engravings have it.

Then there's the Grandjean font, which was made two centuries earlier, so it seems to be considered the "official" RdR font, but besides being too light I think, it's not nearly as pure, and some characters (like the "f" and especially "?") are really malformed. Also, the caps are way too dark, and -as we discussed- the italics are very organic and cursive, really way out of character with the Roman. The Grandjean however was available in much greater a range, with 19 sizes from 7 to 64 (the Jaugeon has no real display cuts) as well as titling initials (16 sizes from 12 to 120).

In terms of doing a revival, I guess you might do one of Jaugeon, but you would really need some kind of IN consent there. Or better yet might be doing a revival directly from the plates, including the slanted-roman italics. According to what Patrick has shown me there has been a metal of that in the past, but certainly no digital.

hhp

dan_reynolds's picture

This is good info, thank you. I still haven't gotten my copy of the recent Lyon exhibition catalogue from Vendome, and I've just come back from a brief trip to Vienna, so I haven't had time to scour the libraries in Frankfurt for samples either.*

A friend of mine who just came over from the States on Sunday did bring me my copy of Friedl's Typography, and I enjoying perusing those low quality examples.

My gut feeling is to go for as close of a revival as is possible first. I can always do something more interpretive later. I like the slanted-Roman Italic alot, and will probably work on that first, instead of any other oblique/italic option. It is becoming more common though to design more than one variety of italic for a single Roman... so there will always be room for more.


*This is Germany, so school isn't going to start up again for another five weeks... everyone helpful in my neck of the woods is still on vacation...

hrant's picture

> It is becoming more common though to design more than one variety of italic

Tell me about it.
I started evangelizing multiple -and preferably uniwidth- italics three years ago. Back then anybody who had an opinion on it thought it was stupid. Now that Underware is doing it (see their new Auto family) of course it's simply brilliant.

hhp

bruno_maag's picture

Ah, RdR - there is of course an interpretation of it in hot/cold metal. It's called Suburban French by Lanston Monotype. Quite nice really. It doesn't try to be a revival but still contains the essence of RdR.

Bruno Maag

hrant's picture

Interesting! I wonder where Giampa is.
And I wonder what sort of italic it has.

hhp

brampitoyo's picture

Dan,

How was the book working for you, and how was your revival going? I noticed that, thus far, some digital revivals of RdR has been on progress, but none has actually been finished.

dan_reynolds's picture

I loved the book, or at least the pictures (since I can't read French). I don't know if I'm going to do much more work here, though; this great revival has already been released – http://www.bpfoundry.com/bp/news/news.htm?news_id=10&x=850px&y=170px

hrant's picture

But Dan, that seems to be a digitization of a copy of the RdR, "rounder and more dynamic than its original model". Plus where's the italic? Even if it has one, I doubt it's comme il faut.

hhp

brampitoyo's picture

Unconventional indeed (look at the l, for instance).

dan_reynolds's picture

Best option on the market at the moment, though.
I miss the Italic, too. But I'm probably not the BP Foundry target audience anyway…

grendl's picture

Maybe this thread is totally expired, but that book, "Le Romain du Roi – La typographie au service de l'Etat" was published by the Musée de l'Imprimerie in Lyon, France. It may still be available for purchase from them. It's a great book – I have a copy. The book itself has been set in the Romain du Roi – those little spurs on the lower case "l" surprisingly affect the look of the page.

quadibloc's picture

This thread inspired me to search for images of the Romain du Roi design charts on the Web. I could not find a complete set, although there is another drawing of the whole Roman alphabet in squares, but without the construction circles, that is available.

But I came across this sentence, in "A History of the Old English Letter Foundries":

"In recent years a French typographer, M. Motteroz, has attempted to combine the exellences of the Elzevir and modern Roman, with a view to arrive at an ideally legible type."

While the experiment is described as a failure, it is intriguing to me.

... Theodore Low De Vinne reproduced the Motteroz letter in his Plain Printing Types, and I fear I must concur that the result was unattractive in appearance, and thus a failure for the reason cited.

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