Module 3 Reading: Engraving

Oct 16

As I read this week’s chapters, I was constantly thinking about the level of effort that had to go in to each stage of producing typographical books. Whether it was movable type or die-cutting, these early printers spent countless hours on each line, paragraph, and page.



With time in mind, one designer who stood out to me was John Pine. I wish our book had explored his works a little more in-depth. While all printing had to be time consuming in its early years, Pine must have spent an extraordinary amount of time on each of his projects. He used a copper plate to engrave all of his pages, rather than using wood blocks for text. The result is noticeable: his layouts are incredibly crisp, with intricate detail not seen in designs from his contemporaries. One example I found online is  A View of the House of Peers, the King Sitting on His Throne, the Commons Attending Him; that layout alone makes me wonder if he suffered from OCD.

His works, along with Fournier le Jeune and George Bikham the Elder, also helped bridge the gap in my mind from engraving to typesetting. While typesetting is definitely an art form of its own, I can now see how the engravers of history made way for the die cutters and punch cutters of typography. They are not separate art forms at all!


One comment

  1. Michael Day /

    Very good choice. John Pine is highly respected as a printer as well as his engravings. His press printed works by many famous authors and in most everything, the text as well as the images is engraved. Expensive, time consuming but beautiful. The more examples of his work I see, the broader my admiration becomes.

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