Scherenschnitte, or scissorcuts, is an art form that arose in Switzerland in the 16th century. It consists of cutting out designs, sometimes very elaborate, in paper. Some time in the first half of the 20th century Lanston Monotype designed a series of 12 little ornaments—natural flora and fauna—in the scissorcut style, and made matrices available to those who had typecasting machines. Over the years Skyline has been fortunate enough to accumulate 11 of these, but that last one was ever elusive. When Quaker City Type was liquidated recently we were able to acquire a few additions to our matrix vault, including (hallelujah!) the one missing mat. We wasted no time in casting this full set for your printing pleasure.
Interestingly, Lanston’s creation of these designs coincided roughly with Germany’s release of the type face Neuland, which is also very much in the scherenschnitte style. These ornaments would be very complementary to Neuland.
August, 2022 Received the following note from fine printer and our good customer Hans van Eijk in Netherlands:
” . . . these are actually a series of ornaments designed in 1926 by André van der Vossen for Joh. Enschedé [Type Foundry] in Haarlem, as part of his Houtsneeletter (Woodcut Letter). The original designs all face right, but the U.S. copyist reversed them.”
The second and third photos above are from a specimen brochure of the Houtsneeletter type face (undated, but Hans estimates 1960s). Some of the elements shown do not appear in the Monotype set, and vice versa.