Designed by the Monotype Design Studio, 1923.
Poliphilus & Blado were Monotype revivals of late 15th and early 16th century renaissance typefaces. Poliphilus was a revival of the roman type Francesco Griffo cut for the 1499 Aldus Manutius edition of Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, whilst the accompanying italic, Blado, was based on a design by calligrapher Ludovico degli Arrighi c. 1526.
Whereas most typeface revivals tidy up the forms, these do not. To really capture the feel of the types these revivals were based on, Monotype purposefully made them facsimiles of the original types as seen when printed; all rough-edged and imperfect. To my mind they did a very fine job of it, and I am constantly charmed by the beauty of this pairing.
The specimen to the right is Monotype’s digital version of the pairing, which retains the separate names for the roman and italic.
A couple of fine examples from the shelves:
• HOWARD PHIPPS ‘EBBLE VALLEY’
Whittington Press, 2007.
Designed and printed by John Randle in an edition of 300 copies.
Printed on a textured Losin handmade, the Poliphilus typeface chiefly used in this volume has its rustic Renaissance warmth and charm revealed to the fullest.
• ALFRED LORD TENNYSON ‘IN MEMORIAM’
Nonesuch Press, 1933.
Designed by Francis Maynell and printed for him at the Fanfare Press in an edition of 2,000 copies.
This beautiful edition is, for the most part, set in a large size of Blado, and is easily the finest showing of this particular italic typeface on my shelves. It looks stunning on the Van Gelder laid paper used for the edition.
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