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     As time passed, old style Roman typefaces were becoming more and more the standard Fonts in continental Europe as well as in the American colonies. It was becoming evident that the evolution of these typefaces was the next logical step. In this transitional period it was the work of John Baskerville that paved the way to the modern roman fonts.
     Baskerville was born in Worcestershire, England, 1706. After a successful career in the japanning trade, a career that helped him establish financial stability; he started to associate himself with typography evolving Caslon's typefaces, as a hobby first later as a chosen profession.
     His typefaces were wider, with increased weight contrast between thick and thin strokes. He used wide margins, and extended the space between lines and letters. The serifs flow smoothly out of the major strokes and terminate as refined points, while his italics show the influence of master handwriting. His covers lacked the elaborate designs of other printers of his time, making his books pure typographic.
     Baskerville was also known to invent various techniques and innovations at printing, with the invention of hot pressing being the most known. By pressing the wet printed sheets between copper plates the paper was more smooth and the ink better set.
     Although his work was widely criticized in his lifetime, his typefaces were the bridge between Caslon's old style and the modern style which will start with Bodoni.
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John Baskerville, Birmingham, 1757
Virgil: Bucolica, Georgica, et Aeneis
8 x 11
77 John Baskerville, Birmingham, 1761
Juvenal and Persius: Satyrae
8 x 11
© 2004 Natalia Rifai