Chapel Text

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July 28, 2013 at 9:45 AM #2770


Chapel Text is the “signature font” for the THP Chapel Forums, so digitization for posterity has been a Top Priority!

According to Nicolette Gray,¹ this face was first shown by Caslon as Ecclesiastic* in c1870. She does not note registration of the design in GB.

In May 1872, Alexander P. Bauer applied for a seven-year US patent of an identical design; the claim reads that he “originated and designed” the face. This language is interpreted to mean that he was indeed the true designer.

It was a common practice among 19th-century TFs for an executive to apply for patents naming himself as Inventor of Record. In this case, the claim typically read “invented and produced.”

The USPTO application was approved in January 1874; rights were assigned to J.M. Conner. Both the Bauer and Conner TFs showed the design as Albion.

This information suggests that Herr Bauer first designed it for Caslon, who (under-estimating its marketability?) declined to register it in GB. Perhaps Bauer then approached Conner (a frequent traveler to Germany) and negotiated a second commission.

In ≤1885 (after expiration of the patent), MacKellar Smiths & Jordan showed the same face as Chapel Text. When the inventories of the Conner and MSJ TFs were “pooled” in the ATF merger of 1892, it was shown as Chapel Text No. 30 until at least 1900.

*Caslon Ecclesiastic is not to be confused with another face known in the US by the same tradename.

THP Partner Alan Prescott has done his usual masterful job of digitizing this very challenging revival for posterity. He observes that the “gingerbread” in the specimens furnished differs slightly, perhaps because detail was routinely simplified when cutting smaller sizes.

So he included all available variations as alternate glyphs—plus some nice ligature bonuses!

¹Gray, N. (1938): XIXth Century Ornamented Types and Title Pages, page 190. Faber and Faber Limited, London.

November 5, 2013 at 12:36 AM #4993

Alan Jay Prescott

Thank you for the kudos, but a couple of corrections.

1. In fact, the gingerbread was not simply cut differently for differing sizes, it was completely a different design in the cases where I supplied an alternate glyph. (It was, however, clear after some zooming-in that many of the gingerbread workings merely appeared different because of resolution problems in the scans.) It was weird that there were 3 completely different Ms…in fact bearing different base character designs, and that the G had an alternate…and a few other random caps had alternates. This leads me to believe that there are dozens more to be discovered someday, somewhere.

2. The ligatures, though credited to me as “bonuses,” were in fact all in the scans. Which is itself, however, a very nice bonus having them available at all, since they are often hard to find. And in this case, several of the ligatures were different from those I would’ve made from scratch. The face had quite a bit of nuance in it and I hope I faithfully caught some of it.

November 29, 2013 at 5:57 PM #5505

Alan Jay Prescott

Below is my revival of Chapel Text, called Chapterhouse Roman:
Chapterhouse Roman


October 21, 2014 at 7:38 PM #16849


It’s perfect, Alan—thank you SO much!

Now all I gotta do is make new headings with the new font (easy).
The hard part is writing an equally clever sidebar for the Welcome Page <LOL>!

January 4, 2016 at 1:52 PM #26320


See Chapel Text in action:


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