T-55. Type, Lettering, & Calligraphy, 1830–2000

James Mosley

An examination of typefaces and related letterforms. Topics include: commercial typography and the evolution of decorative display types: Perrin, Whittingham, and the revival of old style typefaces; the types of the private presses; art nouveau: the artist and printmaker as letter designer; Edward Johnston and broad-pen calligraphy; type design for machine production: the American Typefounders Company, Mergenthaler Linotype, Monotype (in the USA and England); new types in Germany and France. This course continues the themes developed in T-50.

This course will attempt to bring together coherently a number of points about the history of letterforms during its period, to survey current scholarship in the field, and to point directions for students’ future study. The course presupposes a general knowledge of Western history and of the topics covered in T-50. In their personal statement, prospective students—especially those who have not already taken T-50—should outline their background and previous study in typographic history.

Course History

James Mosley taught this course biannually during this period.

Course Resources

  • Advance Reading List
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James Mosley

James Mosley

James Mosley is Visiting Professor in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication at the University of Reading. He was Librarian of the St Bride Library in London until 2000. As a student he was a compositor and a pressman at the Water Lane Press of Philip Gaskell in Cambridge. He had some working experience at the typefoundry Stevens, Shanks (originally Figgins) in London. He has written and lectured on the history of printing types and letter forms and was the founding editor of the Journal of the Printing Historical Society. In 2003 he received the annual award of the American Printing History Association for his contributions to printing history. His urbane and erudite blog, Typefoundry: Documents for the History of Type and Letterforms, is required reading for students of the history of typography.

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