Sunday, November 27, 2011

Back to Nature, Part 2

With all the leaves nearly off the maple trees outside, it seems a good time to add another post on the other sort of wood type: the common twig type. Also referred to as rustic type or broken log lettering, it evolved from branches, sticks and twigs and an appreciation of the natural world. I find that these woodsy letters can easily reveal themselves just by gazing up into the newly exposed and barren branches of large trees. I imagine this must have been a popular pastime in the later 19th century as well, when a back to nature theme took root in Victorian society and rustic twig typography became high fashion. Such fine examples of it could be found on songsheets, childrens' books, advertising trade cards and more.
      The Oliver Alphabet booklet above is from 1889. It is an advertising alphabet pamphlet for children and adults produced by the Oliver Chilled Plow Works. Each ornate letter in the booklet is lavishly illustrated to emphasize the many features of the plow. You can see more images of this booklet at Bromer Booksellers and Aleph-Bet Books.
      Immediately below is the cover for Rustic Adornments for Homes of Taste, published in London in 1856. It was designed to inspire town folk to imitate nature indoors. From the Special Collections of the Geffrye Museum.

The songbook cover above from 1878 has some nice log type with an initial Cap H of shafts of wheat and a sickle.
:: Via Crackdog's Flickrstream.

An exquisite chromolith title page from an 1881 autograph album belonging to designer/illustrator Julie Reed who writes the inspired blog Bricolage

Portion of a tattered songbook cover from mid-1800's from my own collection.

Cloth-stamped cover and title page of Mother Goose in Hieroglyphics. This is a 1962 reprint by Houghton Mifflin from my own bookshelf. 
Edward Ardizzone's illustration for the catalog cover of the 1951 Festival of Britain exhibition. Printed letterpress from 4-color line blocks and featured in the 1953 Penrose Annual, Volume 47.  

Davies' Naturalist's Guide, 1858, a guidebook for collecting, preparing and preserving specimens in arsenic intended for students, amateurs and travelers. 
:: Via the Smithsonian Galaxy of Images.

1889 advertisement for Perkins & Company of Grand Rapids, Michigan, a manufacturer of machinery for making cedar shingles. 
:: Via the Smithsonian Galaxy of Images. 

Rustic letters and monogram from my 1903 penmanship handbook by John B. Wiggins, Designs for Letters and Monograms. Find many more of my posts from this book here

Not that kind. This image is from an edition of 50 silkscreened prints of the ornithological kind by type designer and illustrator Seb Lester. It features 4 famous tits sitting on twig letters. Just a few of these prints left for sale at the Keep Calm Gallery.

This beautifully illustrated songsheet for Woodland Sketches published in 1851 was found over at What is This?. Lithographed in 2 colors, and then hand-colored in watercolors. It contains several woodsy typestyles surrounded by a rustic arbor border, all designed by some unsung twig type hero. Stunning!
      You can find more examples of typographys' sticks and stems in this continuing Letterology series at part 1, Alphabetica Rustica.

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