Of Skyline’s four type sales categories (Fonts, Borders, Initials, Collections), the slimmest by far is Initials, with only six different sets to choose from—until now, that is. This month we introduce Ataraxy Initials in 36 point. The truth is that they happened by accident: our casterman received routine orders for a restock of the ever-popular Massey Initials, and he inadvertently drew the wrong set of matrices from the vault. By the time this was realized, the project was well underway. So he changed his story to “I meant to do that!” and thus we have something new to offer you. These elegant little floral letterforms were given only a number by Lanston Monotype, their manufacturer. Oddly, the same number was assigned to a completely different set of initials cut only in 24 point. To avoid confusion we elected to give them a name. (Boo-Boo was nearly selected, but lost out to Ataraxy.)
But of course there’s more. And like a couple of other recent Skyline items, this one represents new territory for us. Behold Border No. E-1346 in 18 point: our first Border to be cast from English Monotype matrices (yep, that’s what the E represents). And we are fortunate enough to know the designer and time frame, thanks to our friends at Red Eel Press in England. This border was designed by Jack Townend and released by the [English] Monotype Corporation in 1958. Townend, who was born in Bingley, West Yorkshire, taught graphic design, lithography and printmaking at the Ruskin School of Art at the time he designed this and certain other decorative elements for Monotype (1952-1961). Townend is also known for writing and illustrating a number of children’s books. This peculiar artistic style of stark geometric solids and lines surely must have a name, and here in the U.S., at least one of the linecaster companies cut a fair number of border/ornament elements in that style. If any of you art historians out there in letterpress-land can shed some light on this, we’re anxious to hear from you.
Just returned from a major mission to southern California where we bought out the entire type holdings of a long-time fine printer: some 521 fonts of book, classic and antique revival faces. You may expect this to start showing up in The Junk Bin, available for purchase, as we undertake the long process of evaluating and fonting this treasure trove. We’re really in the used-type business now!