L is for Lonely

8 line Ultra Bodoni Condensed

Rob Roy Kelly identified three primary styles of wood type designs, Roman, Antique, and Gothic. A large majority of the secondary and tertiary styles are directly derived from the primaries. My collection contains many fine examples of Antiques and Gothics, but I am acutely aware of the paucity of Roman styled letters – this 8 line Ultra Bodoni Condensed capital L is a lonely sort – especially in the vein of the nineteenth century fat face. Nicolete Gray defined the fat face thusly:

. . . a large letter with (a) vertical shading, (b) abrupt modelling, so exaggerated that the thick stroke is nearly half as wide as the letter is high, and (c) certain characteristic forms, all tending to emphasize the roundness in the letters; R with a curly tail, short ranging J terminating in a round blob, Q with a tail making a loop with the bowl, S, C and G with barbed terminals and G with a pointed spur.

The roughness (clearly visible in the proof) on the right side (left in the proof) of the main stem is the result of poor cutting – or a lack of finishing – on the part of the manufacturer.