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IMPRENTA REAL, MADRID.. Muestras de los Punzones y Matrices de la Letra que se Funde en el Obrador de la Imprenta Real.1799

Madrid: [Imprenta Real,] 4to (254 x 172 mm), in 2 parts, [2], 74, [1], 75--147 leaves, printed on one side only (on alternate rectos and versos) within woodcut borders, wide-margin copy, printed on thick paper, title with vignette of the arms of the King of Spain, single sheet of printed prices tipped-in, a nice clean copy, marbled endpapers, contemporary tree calf, light stain to lower board, spine leather lettering piece, slightly rubbed, a very nice copy. The most important Spanish type specimen. The Imprenta Real, Madrid, was set up in 1780 when the State took over the equipment of the printer Francisco Manuel de Mena, whose heirs were unable to discharge their debts towards the State. This was the first type specimen book from the Imprenta Real and it contains many roman and italic types, including some cut by Geronimo Gil for the Royal Library. "The book is in two parts. The first comprises an ambitious collection of excellent roman and italic types, followed by Greek types (fine in the largest and smallest sizes), a few pages of Arabic, and a little Hebrew. Apart from Gil's fonts, and others of that style, there are a number of lighter fonts, both in roman and italic, that, while distinctly 'old style', show the taste for lighter letter-forms which was then making headway in Spain. A second collection of type of decidedly more modern cut begins on page 75. The tendency toward less "nourished", lighter letters is clearly seen in these over-finished, monotonous character, types by no means so interesting as those of Part I. Following these is a large display of capital letters in roman and italic, shaded initials, Greek capital letters, and a repertoire of 'flowers'… A few are original, but a great many of these 'flowers' were derived from Holland, France, and England, and others from various perfectly recognizable sources; but they are rendered in such a way as to be transmuted into very Spanish Design."—Updike. Provenance: Bookplate of Jules Laloux, secretary for the Compagnie Typographique, Paris. Updike, II, pp. 85-86.

Stock #40919

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