Visual treats

A tiny bunch of flowers for the Sunday lunch table; will you look at how beautiful the crocus and snowdrops are?

But what I really wanted to write about this weekend was a book, which has been a bit in mind recently (I’ll explain why at the end). I first came across this book years and years ago, staying in Dedham with my friend George. I well remember him putting by my bedside table one time; George is that thoughtful sort of person who likes to think what you might enjoy reading that evening or with a morning cup of tea. Well, W. S. Cowell’s A Book of Typefaces has stuck with me ever since.

Published in 1952, the book is I suppose also enjoying a diamond jubilee this year. Cowells were the superb Ipswich printers who are responsible for so many of the books that we love to sell the shop. If you’re interested in reading more about them, don’t fail to have a look at Ruth Artmonsky’s brilliant Do you want it Good or do you want it Tuesday? which you can find here, and which I finally settled down to read last week.

Anyway, back to Cowell’s typefaces. Effectively a catalogue of the firm’s available faces, brilliantly typeset, the pages are full of rich treats. Here is a selection.

Amazing, is it not? If only the Cowell’s manual was still in use, 60 years later, one feels the world might be a better looking place.  Anyway, I’ve been leafing through those fantastic fat faces and shadowed letters a little recently, while putting together ideas for the exhibition Bridie and I are putting on in the shop in May – of new works by the brilliant Ed Kluz. I’ll be writing a lot more about the show in weeks to come, but for now, do you see where he and I are coming from with our big old typefaces for ‘THEATRE BRITANNICA’? Watch this space, and save the dates…!  There will be visual treats for sure.

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