Rose Egyptian

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August 3, 2013 at 5:13 AM #2916

Anna

Nicolette Gray [177] traces this stunning face with complex floral embellishment to Egyptian Ornamented by Bower & Bacon, 1830.

The super-strong “Egyptian” letterforms, originated by Figgins in 1815 [Gray 149], are still unbeatable today for irresistible attention-grabbing!

Type styles classified as Egyptian evolved as distortions of fatfaces: instead of extreme contrast between thick and thin strokes, all strokes are heavy. As for fatfaces, the serifs are unbracketed (or nearly so).

Rob Roy Kelly [97] reports a specimen shown as Rose Ornamental by Nesbitt in 1838. George Nesbitt, a New York Printer, was the distributor for wood types produced by Edwin Allen [1811-1891] of Windam, MA [Kelly 38].

The apt tradename Rose Egyptian was apparently assigned by Dan X. Solo during the photo-lettering era.

Dave Greer, curator of the T.J. Lyons type collection, notes:

  • The roses and leaves are unique for every letter.
  • At exhibits of his type artifacts, it is by far the most popular.

Preliminary Specimens

Complete caps alphabet, ampersand
Close-up view of floral details


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November 8, 2013 at 11:11 AM #5065

Alan Jay Prescott

I’ve decided to take on Rose Ornamented as the next project. It seems that several of the characters are incorrect according to contemporaneous Egyptians slabs, paticularly the X and Y. I may supply those as “alternates” and design replacements that I deem more in keeping with the feeling of the rest of the glyphs. I will examine some other specimens from that time to see whether my instincts are correct.


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November 9, 2013 at 5:31 AM #5068

Anna

Good luck, Alan (you’ll need it)!

…and bless you for undertaking the super-tuff “endangered” faces that might become extinct because no one else was “ready, willing and able” to do them digital justice.

Rose Egyptian is absolutely spectacular and [thanks to Dan X. Solo] perhaps the oldest-known ornamented egyptian with a scan-able full ABC-123 specimen.

Please keep us posted on your progress!

P.S. Attached is Gray’s specimen (high-rez tiff uploaded to dropbox)—hope this helps…


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November 9, 2013 at 9:53 AM #5081

Alan Jay Prescott

Thanks for the Bower Bacon. Interesting that the ornamentation is totally different from Solo, by the way. Solo’s version may be scannable, but it is A through Z plus ampersand, unless I am missing a specimen somewhere. I have page 68 of Pattern Alphabets. Do you show the numerals somewhere? If so, you can indicate the Solo book and page number, as I surely have it and haven’t come across it.

I am unsure now how to proceed. Though the Bower Bacon is not a great picture, it nonetheless shows that Solo invented the shapes inside the characters based on what he thought he saw. In fact, from his showing, it is evident that the H, I, O and Z are upside down…and the X was totally made up (it does not match the style of the rest of the font).

This face is not just a toughie…it may not be possible unless I invent my own version of what I think is the best representation of the original internal forms. The Bower Bacon is truly a great find, since the roses are indeed roses, whereas the Solo is hardly a rose at all and some generic floral form.


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November 11, 2013 at 11:25 AM #5146

Alan Jay Prescott

There are several ways to approach this revival. 1. Put it off until a specimen of the original shows up that shows a significant number of glyphs. I suspect a very good revival could be made if it is “regular” in some way. The rose forms can be copy/paste and achieve a reasonable compromise between authenticity and the time element.

2. The Solo version can be accomplished, and in fact it can include many characters whose Roman or Egyptian base forms are easily duplicated. Solo made a quite different face from the original, but it can be made better. But it is NOT Rose Egyptian except in “gesture.”

3. It can be abandoned. This is an important face historically, and it may be better to do nothing rather than something inadequate.


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November 11, 2013 at 1:28 PM #5147

Anna

DXS must have suffered from the same dilemma that bugs you now… This face is 183 years old, so who knows what specimen he had? Dave Greer writes that it is the rarest one in the T.J. Lyons Collection—he found it in a printing shop that had been in business since the 1840s.

Surely there are differences between Bower & Bacon’s metal version and Allen’s wood one, just as between Solo’s and theirs. My hunch is that he decided it was too important to NOT do, so he produced the best copy he could of the materials at hand.

Why not forget about it for awhile and revisit your options later with a fresh eye? In the meantime, maybe someone will surprise us with the perfect specimen!


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November 11, 2013 at 11:07 PM #5157

Alan Jay Prescott

Wise words…still I love a challenge. Tell ya what? I think Solo’s version is legitimate in the sense that he himself was an accomplished typographer (albeit a bit loose sometimes). His version gives me the jumping-off point for my OWN version, which will honor the work he did and demonstrate my commitment to his vision. There are millions of his books out there, so bringing his Rose to fresh air will smell as sweet.

I’m gonna do a solo Solo proud.


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November 12, 2013 at 12:09 AM #5160

Anna

Go Ahead, Alan!

Another historically important typeface rescued from extinction. By any name, this face is a Love-at-First-Sight Show-Stopper. So why has it not been digitized before? Because it’s HARD Work—as hard to sculpt it with a computer font editor as to carve it in steel or in wood.

It looks like sweet ol’ Rose may be even more difficult than Crayon or even Parisian. If anyone can tackle this challenge, YOU can!


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November 18, 2013 at 12:16 PM #5289

Alan Jay Prescott

Yes, Rose Egyptian will have to win this round…I made a valiant attempt at working a compromise between the two fonts and made one complete cap. It looked so marginal after many hours, and so I’ve had to abandon this for now.

I will look at it again with fresh eyes in the future, but for now it will rest.

Your lower case Marble Heart beckons, and there are several interesting surprises for you when I am done. Even you may be amazed!


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October 22, 2015 at 6:12 AM #25385

Anna

I really hate to see this super-appealing beauty discarded as impossible to vectorize, especially when Dan X. Solo published an acceptable working specimen

It is admittedly an imperfect copy of specimens dating back to the earliest-examined metal one (Bower & Bacon, UK 1830)² nor the earliest reported wood-type derivative (Allen/Nesbitt, US 1838).³

Regardless… I am personally convinced that DXS worked hard to produce it because it is too important to ignore. It is a workable interpretation generated by a sincere type-history curator who truly loved 19th-century designs and did his best to perpetuate them with materials available to his photo-lettering service.

THP anticipates brisk commercial demand for revivals of this irresistible typeface. Is there a developer willing to compromise 100% authenticity by producing a revival of the DXS version entitled something like “Solo Rosa”?

If so, the THP Bazaar stands ready to discretely manage historical issues by illustrating original specimens and identifying differences between them, explaining scarcity of working materials, metal vs wood vs photo-lettering vs digital technologies, etc.

This font must survive the Digital Revolution!
____

¹Solo, D.X. (1994): Pattern Alphabets|100 Complete Fonts, page 68. Dover Publications, Inc. (Minneola, NY).
²Gray, N. (1938): XIXth Century Ornamented Types and Title Pages, pages 177/197. Faber and Faber Limited, London.
³Kelly, R.R. (1977): American Wood Type, 1828–1900|Notes on the Evolution of Decorated and Large Types, page 97. Litton Educational Publishing, Inc./Van Nostrand Reinhold Company (New York 1969). Reprinted by DaCapo Press, Inc. (New York 1977).


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October 24, 2015 at 6:06 AM #25469

Anna

@alan

What do you think of bitmap fonts generated in specific sizes? The Solo specimen looks like 60+ points.

 


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January 18, 2016 at 12:49 AM #26514

Anna
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February 15, 2017 at 2:29 AM #29507

Robert

Rose Egyptian has been digitized by Octopi Fonts, I saw it on the Myfonts.com site last week:

http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/octopi/egypt-rose/

Yours truly,
Robert


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February 27, 2017 at 6:34 PM #29555

Octopi

Hopefully I have done it a little justice!! Had to do some compromising with things such as $ and @ but hopefully the main character set is at least comparable with the specimens available.


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March 2, 2017 at 5:57 AM #29566

Anna

Thanks for this super-important rescue, Paul—it must have been v-e-r-y difficult!!! What a relief to know that it will live for another century or two…

 


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March 2, 2017 at 12:48 PM #29590

Octopi

Anna, if your email address is still the same and active I’ll mail the finished font over to you if you’d like.


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March 2, 2017 at 12:49 PM #29591

Octopi

… also, if there’s anything specific you’d like me to add to the description on the MyFonts site, I’ll add it in.


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March 25, 2017 at 7:46 AM #30215

jch02140

Found this, not sure if it will be useful… It is from Bower & Bacon’s Improved Specimen of Printing Types, Sheffield, 1832 catalog


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