IDENTIFY this type & book

IDENTIFY this type and these pages from a Rare Book.

The pages were among some printing equipment donated to Foothill College by a San Francisco Printer’s widow. So far my research has determined the origin to be an English printer from the 19th Century. The pages are from the Reverend John Fox’s Book of Martyrs. After the Bible, it is the most frequently reprinted book in the English language.

Some similar editions I have found were one published by Thomas Kelly in London, 1822, another by John Malham in 1830 and a third by John Cumming in 1844. I am resonably sure this time period is correct by analyzing the type style. The type appears to be a close match to William Thorowgood’s type of 1824. The “?” is quite distinctive and unusual. Here is a close up to show it. The Italic is also close to one used by Thorowgood. The loop on the top left of all the lower case “r”s is very distinctive.

It also looks a lot like a Didot but why would an English printer be using a French Modern type? Anyone have any ideas?

image: small.jpg


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First off, your posted image is not even clear and crisp enough to be close to being able to precisely identify this font, other than to make some very generic comments.

Keep in mind that fonts from the early 19th century were created from punches that were made by hand for each size of a given face. Every size of a given face would have subtle nuances and differences in many of the characters, sometimes the differences in a given character can actually be fairly dramatic from size to size.

In the case of your sample being a “close match” to a Thorowgood face, are you comparing samples of the same point size?

The basic style is also fairly generic for the time period and many foundries had their own versions, which will make your search even more difficult.


Thanks Rck.

Yes I realize each foundry cut could vary. The only sample I found was in D.B. Updike’s book and it was not the same size. I think my sample is 12-14pt. I will submit a close up of 3-4 lines.

I know it is presumptuous of me to suppose it was printed in England using Thorowgood. The “?” led me to that conclusion. It is the most peculiar, light weight letter compared to all the others and I found no other type with anything close. The reason I concluded this time period was most other samples are between 1820-1835.



Try this one.


Hi Mike,

That is a much better image. Unfortunately I only have a handfull of Eurpoean foundry catalogues. I look through them and did not find a match. The aggravating thing about them is that they hardly ever show a question mark in their specimen samples. That would be the one character to really home in on for your search.

I found it very interesting to learn that the Book of Martyrs was the most frequently reprinted title in the English language. I used to be a Book Production Manger at Meredith Corporation and our flagship title was the Better Homes & Gardens Cook Book, which was the second best-selling book in America for decades (only second to the Bible). It had been updated and reprinted inumerable times over the past 80+ years.