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The Alphabet Fifteen Interpretive Designs Drawn And Arran

 
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From the Introduction.
The number of books dealing with lettering is now fairly large, some going more or less deeply into the history and development of letter-forms, while others principally present models or facsimiles of existing alphabets for suggestion or copying. The student craftsman will do well to possess, and use, the volumes by Day, Strange, Brown, Johnston and Stevens, together with the several portfolios of alphabets, [Rhead, Smith, Johnston], as they contain matter not within the scope of this work.
Naturally, the author who attempts a contribution in a field already well-cultivated, should either offer new material, or present what he has garnered here and there in a novel and undeniably useful way. For the present essay, the writer claims no fresh discoveries in paleography; but he does feel that he has presented his material in a distinctive and helpful form. As regards the text, he has taken his own wherever he has found it, and has incorporated the conclusions drawn from twenty years' work and study. He has not attempted to do more than outline briefly the results of his experience and explain the examples given; nor has he tried to produce a handbook of paleography. He trusts, however, to find his account with the artist and craftsman who has real need in his workfor letters that are legible and correctly drawn, and that possess character and dignity as well as beauty.
The letters shown have not in every instance been selected from identical sources; but, in the case of composite forms, he has endeavored to bring them into exact harmony with the family into which they have been introduced. They serve also to trace the development of lettering, although there has been no intent to present the forms in exact chronological order. They indicate, further, how letters have been influenced by the tool used in producing them, and should suggest some of the endless variations which the craftsman may play upon traditional outlines.
Among the designs are free renderings of letters from sources not easily available to many who require to use lettering in their work. No attempt has been made to present quaint or peculiar forms, but rather to select the most legible and characteristic, which will readily lend themselves to the needs of designers who wish to develop their lettering on a sound basis. The author has not in every instance been able to find forms sufficiently legible or decorative, or easily adaptable to the student's use. In such cases, he has not hesitated to interpolate his own conception of the characters, reserving to himself, as it were, the same rights that the early artists exercised.
Some of the examples presented in collections of alphabets give the form of the letters, but wholly lose the feeling that is an essential quality. In this work, therefore, special pains have been taken to convey the feeling and preserve the delicate irregularities—practically lost in most reproductions— which contribute so largely to the character of the page in mass.” In type. faces, it should be understood that the feeling and spirit of the letter have been sought, rather than absolute fidelity to precise form, though the drawing, of course, has been done very carefully.
Most facsimiles of early manuscripts or printed books are unsatisfactory because the reproductions are too small to exhibit the subtle variations clearly enough to enable the forms to be studied intelligently. The examples herein have therefore been drawn on a large scale, to ensure easy analysis and comparison. The author feels that the plates will compare creditably with many others whose chief characteristic is that of uninspired conventionality....













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