French wood type?

I'm looking for more information on French wood type foundries.
I'm working on a revival of a very interesting bold condensed Clarendon that I believe was made by a French foundry.

I've found a complete uppercase sample, and have finished the rest of the font in a similar style. For accuracy's sake, I would love to find an example of the lowercase or numbers.

The type has markings: AUDERBAUD BRESSURE (2 SEVRES)
Anyone have any insight on this or know what it means?

It would be nice to see if anyone has any other information on this particular font or the history of French wood type in general.
I know Clarendon was an English design, and this French one is a copy, but it is unique and I haven't seen one like it in all my years of type catalog absorbing.


Bernard B's picture

All that I know is that 2 SEVRES means "Deux-Sèvres". It's a French departement :

I tried to look at foundries on google for the dept, but didn't find anything,

good luck!

DTY's picture

Is it possible that the markings are Audebaud rather than Auderbaud and Bressuire rather than Bressure?

James Mosley's picture

Perhaps you have already found this reference, but a fine set of very French slab-serif wood letter capitals has just been sold by an English vendor on Ebay with exactly this marking. Googling should bring up the record, with a good image. ‘Bressure’ does not seem to be recorded as a place name, but it may be an alternative spelling for Bressuire, which is in the Département of Deux-Sèvres and has a municipal web site with various links, including one for the regional archives. They may be able to tell you if there was a wood-type maker there, ‘fabricant de caractères en bois’ or something of the kind. (That’s what I should call it. A ‘foundry’ made metal type, and there’s nothing wrong with extending the term to modern makers of digital fonts, but to me it sounds wrong to apply it to a manufacturer using a technique that was quite different from casting metal – although a few of the big typefoundries did make, or at least sell, wood types bearing their names.)

I have tried the union catalogue of French libraries and can't find anything under ‘Auderbaud’ so perhaps nobody has kept their specimens. But I hope I'm wrong, and the municipal archives or library at Bressuire might be a place to start looking. Nor do I know of a study of the making wood type in France. If one doesn't exist, this may be the time to begin.

James Mosley's picture

Is it possible that the markings are Audebaud rather than Auderbaud and Bressuire rather than Bressure?

I agree that this might be the name – hadn't seen your post. But the reference in Ebay does also have ‘Auderbaud’ so presumably this was on the type. There are several Audebauds listed as authors in the French union catalogue, including one writing about a part of France that is not far away, so maybe it’s a regional name. But alas no type specimens under this name.

James Mosley's picture

It pays to think globally.

WorldCat ( has these:

C. Audebaud, Spécimen de lettres en bois pour affiches. Bressuire (Deux-Sèvres): C. Audebaud, Graveur, Successeur de L. Moreau, [ca. 1880]

Specimen of wood letter for printing posters. It's in the ATF collection at Columbia University, New York.

And also a couple of similar items, apparently without a title, one of which was issued by Constant Audebaud, G. Chauvin and Louis Moreau, and the printer at Tours was the Imprimerie E. Arrault et Cie, 1886. They are at the University Library at Amsterdam (Bibliotheek Universiteit van Amsterdam, Amsterdam, 1012 WP, Netherlands).

matthew_desmond's picture

Thanks much for this information. It gives me a bit more to go on.
I did see the ebay auction, and it was a completely different style.
I was hesitant to call a wood type maker a foundry but not sure what the proper term would be.


Syndicate content Syndicate content