Thursday, September 8, 2016

Baskerville's remarkable English print

John Baskerville, a wealthy Birmingham lacquer manufacturer and japanner ("japan" is a sort of hard, black varnish), letter-carver and writing master, recut Caslon's letter in a somewhat wider, rounder, and lighter form.

The type itself was not remarkably different from Caslon's, although it was based on the living pen forms of the time. The way of setting the text, however, was dramatically different.

1- Baskerville used very open spacing between the lines and extremely wide margins.
2- The type was printed with unusual care on high-quality hot-pressed Whatman paper developed by Baskerville himself, with inks that were also his own products.
3- Baskerville used no decoration at all, and this trend affected the course of typography both in England and in continental Europe (the quality of his printing was remarkable).

See the transition from the 12 o clock from Humanist to Transitional, Baskerville achieves a rationalist axis. This is already neoclassical.

The consensus is that he is not an inventor but a perfector. The history of marks needs both.