Saturday, June 02, 2012
As fashions go, it is possible that Victorian typography is about the most out-of-fashion design style one can imagine. Granted, within the fairly niche market of Steampunk there is a glance back to Victorian letters in design inspired by or for the genre, but even the most ardent Steampunkers (should there be a better nomenclature than that?) would admit it isn't exactly a mass participation activity. Characterised by multiple fonts on the same page, often open-faced or three dimensional fonts with gothic flourishes and blots, it's clearly not for the typographically faint-hearted. But when I come across such over-the-top and yet wonderful examples as these, I'm moved to say it might be time to engineer a revival. Perhaps Callum James Books should look into publishing a Victorian Typography Source Book... stop me, someone, please, that way lies madness...
These all came from a single disbound (but originally bound together) collection of sheet music. It's not the first such collection I've had in my study here and I have wondered before why there isn't more by way of a collectors' market for material like this. Largely, I'm sure, it would be for the way it looks: typography aside, some of the best Victorian lithography seems to have been reserved for the covers of sheet music.