• New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Press and HES & DE GRAAF Publishers, 2012.
  • 5 x 7 inches
  • hardcover
  • 416 pages
  • ISBN: 9789061945611(HDG)
  • ISBN: 9789061945611(HDG)

Price: $49.95  other currencies

Order Nr. 108912

This new study from respected typographical scholar Hendrik Vervliet is the first published history of the sixteenth-century vine leaf as a typographical ornament. Not only is it an important contribution to typographical history, but it also provides a useful tool for identifying and dating books without an imprint.

In the course of the early sixteenth century, decoration of the printed book underwent a double metamorphosis. Previous medieval floral embellishments, commonly copied from Islamic and Byzantine sources, were replaced by new motifs including strapwork, interlacing, scrolls, and denaturalized leaves and stems. At the same time, there was a gradual inclusion of cast ornaments into the printers bills-of-fount, replacing the prestigious and time-consuming hand-painted illumination and decoration, and the sometimes crude woodcut techniques.

This new survey deals with the birth and early history of the typographical ornament commonly known as a vine leaf or Aldine leaf. Starting in 1505, the introduction sketches the fleurons beginnings in handwritten form onwards to printed epigraphical handbooks. These small ornaments originated as type-cast sorts in the first decade of the sixteenth century in Augsburg and Basle at presses that attended to the interests of a humanist reading public. From the 1520s onwards, the design evolved into an all-purpose decorative motif fitting for any publication. Venice and Paris designers, such as Garamont and Granjon, cut new designs that can still be found in most digital fonts today.

The main part of this book is a comprehensive catalogue of all sixteenth-century type-cast vine leaf designs. It provides a descriptive notice of each fleuron, irrespective of its aesthetic merit or country of origin. Illustrated with leaves throughout, the book details punchcutter, size, first and early appearances, and notes. A list of leaves in order of ascending width and a list by punchcutter or eponym are also included. These concluding lists are intended to assist in bibliographical research and provide inspiration for designers. In addition, through the examination of these typographic ornaments, this book provides a methodology for dating and locating books without an imprint.

Hendrik D.L. Vervliet has published books on humanism, bibliography, and book history. In 2011, the American Printing Historical Association presented him with its Annual Award for a distinguished contribution to the study of printing history.