Letterpress

Sweet & Lovely!

Oh yes, despite the charming (if puzzling) title of this post, I have, as they say in some quarters, got wood. Big time too. Above is a collection of large grotesque woodtype that has made it’s way into the Lestaret arsenal. How large? FIVE INCHES, that’s how large! That’s also 127mm to many of us for whom inches are a mere abstract concept of measurement.

There is not a full alphabet and there are some doubles (J & U), plus they are not all in great condition, but that’s why I like them. Of course, I have done some initial prints to see how they fared. The results are below – click on the image to see a full sized version.

The two J’s make an interesting pair, with the one shown on the right in the image below  having the most surface damage out of the set:

I believe these are also hand cut because there are faint but visible scribe marks and cut marks on the body:

I could post some straight on images until the cows come home, but that is done much better here,  here and here, and there’s no point in doing what they do If I can’t do it any better is there? These are great links for wood type obsessives!

This is the centre of the x. I love this shot; it covers the visual quality of the patina of the wood, hints of the craftsmanship used to bring it into creation, and of its age with the dust trapped into its cuts.

The G however, has been damaged on the foot:

Probably by some apprentice tasked with getting a headline to fit before the chief got back from lunch!

There is more deliberate damage to three other letters too, this time for kerning purposes:

Rather crude, but totally effective; this is how kerning was done back in the day; by physically removing some of the wood to allow the letters to sit closer together. None of your newfangled character palettes with their infinately adjustable increments!

There were also a small group of smaller letters (42mm) in a quaint serif style (not all pictured):

Obviously hand cut too, given the variation in the stroke thickness, but there is an admirable uniformity in the delicate curved serifs. And before anyone points out that the two T’s are different, here’s why:

The one on the right is an odd one that has found it’s way into the box. It’s metal faced on wood too. I’d like to see the rest of these as I am rather fond of these elongated wedge serifs.

So why did I title this post the way I did? On the back of one of the letters is a small strip of paper torn from a book to aid with spotting up:

Sweet and lovely indeed.

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2 thoughts on “Sweet & Lovely!

  1. I am more than a little jealous.

    I am a lot jealous.

    I like making impressions with different consistencies of acrylic paint / ink, there is so much you could do with these.

    Really well cut fonts, you lucky chap!

  2. I know how lucky I am – I spend much of my time smiling whilst I’m printing!

    I’ll send you some prints soon!

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