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Romantiques No. 4

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Anna 2 years, 4 months ago.

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June 6, 2013 at 10:34 AM #851


Romantiques No. 4Nicolette Gray documents this exquisitely beautiful and complexly ornamented tuscan face as “French 1838” and notes that Figgins showed it as Parisian in 1843.¹ Wood & Sharwood (sucessors to the Austin TF) showed it by the same tradename in 1838.

Rob Roy Kelly illustrates a specimen shown by Johnson & Smith (a fore-runner of MacKellar Smiths & Jordan [MSJ]) in 1841² as Ornamented (un-numbered) along with several specimens of numbered ornamented faces. Mac McGrew adds that it was also known as Dandy or Ornate No. 6.

It is one of five “Romantique” faces that may have originated at the TF of the famous Joseph Gaspard Gillé [1748–1789], inherited by his sons and eventually acquired by DeBerny et Peignot. The producers/distributors of the “Romantique” and of the “Ornate Nos. 1–6” collections are unknown to THP.

The following resources have been scoured for specimens, with scattered success (*):

  • Monographs by Gray,* Kelly,* Lieberman, Jaspert, McGrew,* Grafton (2), Lehner and Nesbitt
  • Photo-lettering and transfer-type catalogs (including all Solo specimen books), Solotype Catalog**
  • France. Tarbé 1839, Latouche & Buffet 1836, Thorey & Virey 1843, Derriey 1862,* Imprimerie de Corbaz 1855/1866, Mangin 1867,* Battenburg 1867, Imprimerie de Badoureau 1875, Imprimerie de Bécus 1882, Berthier 1882, Turlot 1885, Monnoyer 1889, DeBerny 1906, Fonderie Typographique Française c1920
  • US. Bruce 1856/1869-1875, Boston TF 1857/1860* and thereafter, MSJ 1869* and thereafter, Farmer 1866-1889, Cincinnati 1857-1888.
  • Elsewhere. Wood & Sharwood 1838,* Caslon 1841, Fann St 1874, Ullmer 1875. Hænel 1847,* Falckenberg 1854, Buchdrucker Decker 1861.

This face has never been digitized, and no wonder—what a Masterpiece Challenge it presents! Can you even imagine cutting the original metal punches? With Ihlenburg’s Crayon already to his credit, THP Partner Alan Prescott can handle it!

No lower case was intended. Besides the glyphs illustrated here, a few more (incuding the Æ ligature and punctuation symbols) were discovered later. Working specimens for these are still lacking:

K Q X Y Z 2 4 9 0

THP has initiated correspondence with a high-profile commercial revival developer who has expressed interest in the specimen holdings of the late D.X. Solo [1928-2012]. Stay tuned!

¹Gray, N. (1938): XIXth Century Ornamented Types and Title Pages, pages 183/200. Faber and Faber Limited, London.
²Kelly, R.R. (1977): American Wood Type, 1828–1900|Notes on the Evolution of Decorated and Large Types, page 200. Litton Educational Pub­lishing, Inc./Van Nostrand Reinhold Company (New York 1969).
³McGrew, M. (1993): American Metal Types of the Twentieth Century (Second, Revised Edition), page 343. Oak Knoll Press, New Castle, DE.

August 19, 2013 at 6:36 PM #3756


Good News! THP Partner Brian Bonislawsky has furnished a useful specimen of the full charset.

November 7, 2013 at 12:16 PM #5036

Alan Jay Prescott

Romantiques No. 4 was produced several weeks ago from scans of differing provenance and clarity. Thanks to the sleuthing by Anna and others, I was able to create a full glyph set.

I had started with the cap N, just to test whether this face was even feasible in a reasonable amount of time. Having decided in its favor, I then figured I wouldn’t continue until I could get every last character known, because the designs of thr missing ones could not really be predicted.

When the rest showed up, albeit with a disgusting W, I went for it. I understand, however that there is an AE ligature out there, so if someone has a picture, I will add the glyph to the font. I’m relentless!

November 7, 2013 at 1:26 PM #5042


Here’s the tiny(!) AE diphthong—TIFF uploaded to dropbox. I know you’ll spin it into gold.

November 7, 2013 at 10:18 PM #5052

Alan Jay Prescott

Wow. This was a challenge, mostly because it had been a while since I worked on it, so I had completely forgotten the math of the font. I was able to generate a new database from the old and the numbers popped into place.

Four hours later, I had a very nice AE. Yikes. New font and PDF of the character set in your dropbox.

November 29, 2013 at 6:32 PM #5515

Alan Jay Prescott

Romantiques No. 4, or Parisian, has been revived as Partisan Ornamented, along with several nice derivatives:
Partisan Ornamented
Partisan Roman
Partisan Contour
Partisan Rimmed Shade
Partisan Open Shade

November 8, 2014 at 10:06 PM #17588


AWESOME is the only word that comes close to describing this revival… Thanks to Alan for mastering this challenge!


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