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Simon De Colines, Punchcutter; 1518–1546

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Chapter Summary

In transalpine Europe, a coherent and aesthetically satisfying set of Roman and Italic letterforms, qualitatively equal (or perhaps even superior) to the best of Italian Renaissance typography, was introduced by Simon de Colines. With his stepson, Robert I Estienne, he was the foremost Paris printer of the 1520-40s. This chapter attempts to catalogue exhaustively the types Colines may have cut. It describes 28 types Colines may have cut (21 Romans, 4 Italics, 3 Greeks). However, three or four are missing: an early roman, one or two Hebrews, and a small rotunda. The early Roman is a Great Primer Roman (116 mm) used by Henry I Estienne for his 1516 Dioscorides edition. Theoretically, this Roman falls within the time frame one might envisage for a young Colines starting out as a punchcutter. Its design clearly betrays a lack of experience in handling Roman letterforms.

Keywords: Italian Renaissance typography; Paris printer; punchcutter; Roman letterforms; Simon de Colines



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