Friday, September 9, 2016

can a printer change a language? the genius of Geoffroy Tory and the comeback of the Roman typeface!


Geoffroy Tory was a publisher, printer, author, orthographic reformer, and prolific engraver who was mainly responsible for the French Renaissance style of book decoration and who played a leading part in popularizing in France the roman letter as against the prevailing Gothic. His important publications include a number of Books of Hours and his famous philological work Champfleury (1529) (below). 


Tory put forward the idea of accents, the apostrophe, the cedilla, and simple punctuation marks. He was appointed imprimeur du roi ("printer to the king") by Francis I in about 1530. For those of you with proficiency in French, check this website with Tory's works and interesting biography. (Above, Tory's Hours of Our Excellent Virgin Mary, 1541). 

La lettre longue

"O" and "K" as bodily movement (did he know about Leonardo's man?)
What does roman come back with Tory's Roman? A mix of self-advertising through excellent design, french pride & state (the king himself) sponsorship.