Wednesday, June 22, 2016

256. A Rough Advance Proof for Hamlet (2)

Last week, I described an advance proof for Hamlet dating from 1899 - the book was published in 1900. It displayed several deviations from the final text. I left one remarkable feature unmentioned. Between the proof and the publication of the Vale Press book, Ricketts decided to change the letter 'G' of his newly designed Avon Type.

The Avon was an adaptation of his Vale Type, and for the title pages the letters were enlarged to two larger sizes. We see combinations of these sizes on most of the title pages, where the smaller types are occasionally piled up.

The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark (1900)
The capitals do not protrude below the lines. However, originally, the down-stroke of the letter 'G' did reach lower, which we can see in the advance proof for Hamlet. It is only a slight difference, that did not occur in the normal size of the Avon. We only see it in the enlarged capital letter 'G' in this proof. The normal size types were individually cut by punchcutter Edward Prince; the enlarged ones were produced by an engraving machine.

The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark (proof, 1899)
The final down-stroke (the spur of the 'G') looks a bit blunt in comparison.

The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark (1900)
As the letter 'G' appeared in many titles, it is no wonder that Ricketts took a good look at the final design of it.