Jim Richardson

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The annual roundup of sheep. #iceland

Louis John Pouchée alphabets Described as the most ambitious and most beautiful types created in wood in any period, these alphabets were once presumed lost in a fire in 1940 at Monotype’s London office. Designed for eye-catching headlines or for highlighting a word in printed posters, some of these fat face and slab serif letters look as if they could have been designed in the 1920s, or even the 1950s, judging from their patterns. They were actually designed in the early 1820s, even earlier than the more familiar Victorian ornamented type. The astonishingly intricate letter designs feature a variety of ornamental motifs; plant forms, agricultural, musical and even masonic symbols. The level of detail in these, once innovative engravings, is incredible. The above images are from Ornamented types: twenty-three Alphabets, from the Foundry of Louis John Pouchée. It’s a limited edition boxed set of large, unbound, deckled edged, printed sheets available to view at the St. Bride Library, which also holds the original wood blocks used to print the edition. Printing from the blocks in the mid-90s was a collaboration between James Mosley, the former Librarian at St. Brides, and Ian Mortimer, of I.M. Imprimit, who designed and printed the limited edition. When printing started, the provenance of the blocks was still a mystery. James Mosley had shown a few printed examples of individual letters in the ‘60s, suggesting that they might be from Pouchée’s foundry. However it wasn’t until Ian and his team were two-thirds through printing the cryptic alphabets that their identity was confirmed. Mosley matched them to a specimen; Specimens of stereotype casting, from the foundry of L. I. Pouchée 1, which even quotes the prices charged for the types. The printing of this historic record was an extraordinary feat. The blocks were originally designed to be stereo-typed—used as patterns for casting metal type—and were never intended for printing. Therefore the blocks were never squared-up or made type high. This, together with the fact that their surfaces had warped slightly over time, meant that no automation for inking or printing could be used. Painstaking techniques were used for making ready and inking the blocks. Each had to be packed and adjusted on the press to achieve a good impression. To ensure that both the engraved detail reproduced crisply and that the solid areas remained fully opaque, different sized rollers were often used on the same block to apply different densities of ink. A large roller with a fine film of ink was used for the detail and a small roller with thicker coverage was used for black areas. The few splits and marks, which eventually helped confirm the identity of the blocks, have been left. The edition took almost four years to complete. Describing the design and typography of the printed edition, Ian told me that it had been agreed with Mosley that the letters should be allowed to speak for themselves with no clever layout or fancy typography to distract from them. The edition has a self-effacing layout with no secondary colour. The display type, Caslon’s two-line English Egyptian, was especially cast from surviving matrices. Two hundred and ten box sets were printed and it was agreed that the original blocks should not to be printed from again for fifty years. Four of Pouchée’s printed letters were later used under license for the Pulp album cover, We Love Life, by Peter Saville in 2001. I’ve chosen just a small section here. I was especially taken with the masonic alphabet. The ‘Z’, shown above, I’m told features authentic symbols that mark Pouchée out as a serious mason. Note the incredible printed detail achieved on the book in the centre and also the ‘G’ referring to God at the top. (Some of the other masonic letters show the eye of God). It was a privilege to be able to browse through it. 1The specimen title, shows founder’s name with an ‘I’. The original Pouchée alphabets are © St Bride Foundation and I.M. Imprimit and are used with permission and my thanks. Thanks also to Bob Richardson of the St. Bride Library—who first showed me the alphabets—and Ian Mortimer of I.M. Imprimit, for their time in answering questions and reviewing this post.

Described as the most ambitious and most beautiful types created in wood in any period, these alphabets were once presumed lost in a fire in 1940 at …

Breathtaking Interior Images of Copenhagen’s Rare Expressionist Church | Colossal

<p>Copenhagen’s Grundtvig’s Church is a rare example of expressionist church architecture, and one of the most well-known churches in the Danish city. …

Pictures of the Week 12.14.17

Santa Barbara County

Ethereal Acrylic Paintings by Duy Huynh Explore Cultural Displacement and Elements of Folklore | Colossal

<p>North Carolina-based painter Duy Huynh (previously) infuses his acrylic paintings with whimsical elements of visual storytelling, where a plume of …

Art

Magnificent Cardboard Airships by Jeroen van Kesteren | Colossal

<p>Over the last year, Netherlands-based artist Jeroen van Kesteren has been toiling away at these sculptural airships as part of a series titled …

The Curious World of Soviet Bus Stops

Picture Stories<p>On a long-distance bicycle trip from London to St. Petersburg in 2002, photographer Chris Herwig encountered something unexpected in the barren post-Soviet landscapes—artsy, unusual, and almost spaceship-like bus stops. The more he rode, the more he came across such unique transit …

Aerial Images of Salterns That Blur the Line Between Photograph and Painting by David Burdeny | Colossal

<p>Photographer David Burdeny, whose photo of a towering iceberg we featured last month, has been working on another large-scale photography project. …

Exquisite New Cut Feather Shadowbox Artworks by Chris Maynard | Colossal

<p>We’ve long been fans of Olympia, Washington-based artist Chris Maynard (previously) who assembles shadowboxes of cut feathers depicting the …

Building Human Towers in Spain

Every year in Spain, a Catalan tradition of building Castells—human towers reaching up to 10 stories—takes place. Teams called colles compete to build the tallest and most complex tower made only of human beings standing atop one another. Teams are considered to have been successful if they can …

Abandoned places: the worlds we've left behind – in pictures

Kieron Connolly’s new book of photographs of more than 100 once-busy and often elegant buildings gives an eerie idea of how the world might look if humankind disappeared. Here are some evocative, stylised images of nature reclaiming the manmade world

Pilot Captures Amazing Thunderstorm Photo at 37,000 Feet Over the Pacific Ocean | Colossal

<p>Over the last few years we’ve seen our fair share of storm and lightning photographs, but this shot from Ecuador Airlines pilot Santiago Borja might …

Magical Photographs of Fireflies from Japan’s 2016 Summer | Colossal

<p>Each year when summer comes along, we all look forward to different things. Some of us head to the beach, others to the mountains for camping. Some …

The Beauty of Finland & Iceland Captured Through Multiple Exposure Landscapes by Mikko Lagerstedt | Colossal

<p>Spending an entire evening under the stars in near pitch darkness, photographer Mikko Lagerstedt (previously) captures spectacular landscapes of …

Projects

Macro Photographs Composed of Nearly Ten Thousand Images Show the Incredible Detail of Insect Specimens | Colossal

<p>Commercial photographer Levon Biss typically shoots portraits of world-class athletes—sports players caught in motion. His new series however, …

Nature Photography

Edouard Martinet’s Masterfully Sculpted Animals and Insects Made from Bicycle, Car, and Motorcycle Parts | Colossal

<p>French artist Edouard Martinet assembles faithful interpretations of birds, crustaceans, insects, and other creatures with countless objects from …

Fantastic Fungi: The Startling Visual Diversity of Mushrooms Photographed by Steve Axford | Colossal

<p>To think any one of these lifeforms exists in our galaxy, let alone on our planet, simply boggles the mind. Photographer Steve Axford lives and …

Embroidered Mushrooms, Animals, and Other Forest Creatures by Emillie Ferris | Colossal

<p>Inspired by spring flora and fungus, 21-year-old Emillie Ferris embroiders one-of-a-kind hoops that feature detailed rabbits, foxes, and mushrooms. …

Fragile Crocheted Leaf Sculptures by Susanna Bauer | Colossal

<p>Working with the rigid edges of large dried magnolia leaves artist Susanna Bauer (previously) adds tiny crocheted embellishments of cotton yarn to …

Colossal | Art, design, and visual culture.

<p>Hong Kong has long been infused with the glowing haze produced by its omnipresent neon signs and advertisements. Recently this saturated element of …

Colossal

Landthropologic, Earthworks In Motion: Stunning Animated Land Art Experiments by Paul Johnson | Colossal

<p>Minnesota-based graphic designer Paul Johnson has long been fascinated with creating art in the dirt, so to speak, every since drawing in sand with …

Land Art

New Ballpoint Pen Illustrations on Vintage Envelopes and Maps by Mark Powell | Colossal

<p>It’s been a couple of years since we last checked in on Mark Powell (previously here and here), who produces ballpoint pen portraits and …

'Light Sketches' by Florian Bilges

<b>Name:</b> Florian Bilges <b><br>Hometown:</b> Hannover, Germany <b><br>Resides:</b> Hannover, Germany <b><br>Profession:</b> Photographer <b><br>Hobbies:</b> Bicycling, art, photography <b><br>Hipstographer</b> …

Art at Altitude: Watch Artist Simon Beck Trample Calculated Murals onto Snowy Mountaintops | Colossal

<p>We just featured new snow drawings by artist Simon Beck earlier this month, but this new short film by Great Big Story takes us behind the scenes as …

New Fantastical Miniature Flying Machines Forged From Cardboard by Daniel Agdag | Colossal

<p>Melbourne-based Daniel Agdag (previously here and here) produces fantastical models of machines as a way to explore his own daydreams of what may be …

red faced

A Mysterious and Abandoned Fishing Village Outside of Budapest Captured in Perfect Reflection | Colossal

<p>A few years ago photographer Viktor Egyed accidentally stumbled upon the town Szödliget a few miles outside of Budapest, and to his delight found …

Aerial Abstracts - Zack Seckler | Photographer Director