Sunday, 28 November 2010
The recently reprinted 1911 Oxford ‘facsimile’ of the 1611 King James Bible contains a major anachronism: the types are resolutely ‘Modern’ in style, that is they derive from designs that were developed at the end of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, and bear no relation to the styles used in the original edition. The illustration shows the original 1611 setting of the Preface, and the 1911 resetting.
The problem is that the 1911 edition is not a simple reprint; if it had been, a photographic reproduction of the original pages would have sufficed. It was intended to be read as well as admired, so the black-letter type of the original, deemed unreadable, had to be abandoned, and rendered in roman type. And while Caslon was available for some headings, a Modern with a Scotch flavour was used for most of the setting. Some pages (the fiendishly difficult to re-set Kalendar, for example) were reproduced from line blocks.
Sunday, 21 November 2010
The sheets were too large to be bound conventionally in signatures of 8, 16, or 32 pages; instead, each leaf of 4 pages, supplied separately, was pasted on to a guard, which was attached to the spine of the binding. Furthermore, the text was printed letterpress and the maps from copper engravings, two quite separate printing processes. (The printing shops would have been at different locations in the city.) This required a clear plan for assembling the book:
But the nature of the task meant that purchasers could decide exactly what to do with the plates and text, as this final note freely admits:
E. G. R. Taylor. ‘ “The English Atlas” of Moses Pitt, 1680–3.’ The Geographical Journal, 95, 4 (April 1940), 292–9
Friday, 19 November 2010
¶ If you’re wondering why the division sign ÷ isn’t included, it wasn’t introduced into England until 1688.
Tacquet, Andrea. Elementa geometriæ planæ ac solidæ, & selecta ex Archimede theoremata. Cantabrigiæ: Typis academicis. Impensis Corn. Crownfield, MDCCIII .
Oughtred, William. [Clavis mathematicae] Arithmeticae in numeris … Londini: Apud Thomam Harperum, M.DC.XXXI .
Johann Heinrich Rahn, trs. John Pell. An introduction to algebra. London: printed for Moses Pitt. 1688.
Monday, 15 November 2010
The very sick get spared the lengthy sermonizing, and those in peril on the sea are able to make their peace with their maker – quickly.
Friday, 12 November 2010
Hadrianus Junius, Nomenclator, omnium rerum propria nomina variis linguis explicata indicans, 3/e. Antwerp, 1583.