The types of Jean Jannon at the Imprimerie royale
It is well known that the ‘Garamond’ types, of which the use was initiated at the Imprimerie nationale, Paris, during first years of the 20th century, included some that had been cast from a set of early matrices for three sizes of roman and italic known as the caractères de l’Université to which the name ‘Garamond’ or ‘Garamont’ was assigned during the 19th century (for the first time, apparently, in the specimen of the Imprimerie royale, 1845), and to which several other sizes were added by professional punchcutters, notably Hénaffe. During the 1920s these types were attributed to Jean Jannon of Sedan in an article under the pseudonym of Paul Beaujon in volume 5 (1926) of The Fleuron by Beatrice Warde. Her claim was based on their appearance in Jannon’s type specimen book of 1621 in the Bibliothèque Mazarine, Paris.
The types appeared for the first time under the name of ‘Garamond’ as a ‘series’ in the specimen of the Imprimerie nationale dated 1904 (shown above), and they would become the models for the ‘Garamond’ types of American Type Founders (about 1917), and the English Monotype Corporation (1922).
The story has been told in many places. My own version was in an essay that I published in 2006, and which forms a part of the very long and involved post with the title ‘Garamond or Garamont’ in this blog, which first appeared in April 2011 and to which many additions and corrections have been made ever since. There is also a separate section on Jannon in the new Garamont website of the French Ministry of Culture, although this is in need of some fine-tuning. As we both note, the term caractères de l'Université does indeed appear to have been introduced in the inventory of 1827 or 1828, a record of the punches and matrices of the Imprimerie royale with a printed title page dated 1828, now kept at Ivry. But I have seen no attribution of this type to ‘Garamont’ earlier than the one that appears in the Imprimerie royale specimen of 1845. It seemed to me that for those who have found the navigation of the elaborate narrative that appears in the previous post rather laborious, it would be helpful to offer a summary of some recent findings of my own, so that is my chief aim here.
In 1922 D. B. Updike published the image that appears at the head of this post as fig. 172 of the first edition (1922) of his Printing types, their history, forms and use. It shows a part of a leaf from Richelieu’s text, Les Principaux points de la foy catholique défendus, a folio printed at the Imprimerie royale in 1642. Updike’s caption identifies the types as Garamond’s on the basis of the belief that was current in 1922. In later editions, in deference to Beatrice Warde, the types were called ‘Jannon’s’, an identification that was not wholly correct. The object of this piece is to set things as nearly right as possible.
Perhaps the best place to begin is with the pair of larger types that appears in Updike’s figure. The roman can be identified as the Petit Canon of Robert Granjon, a type that is listed by Vervliet in his Conspectus of 2010 as type 140. (It had appeared on the Berner specimen sheet of 1592, where like the other romans it was identified as the work of ‘Garamond’, but on a specimen offered by Guillaume II Le Bé to the Plantin printing-office in about 1599 there is a note stating that it was cut by Granjon.) This is a type that appears in the specimen of the Imprimerie royale dated 1643, of which a facsimile with notes by Jeanne Veyrin-Forrer and André Jammes was issued in 1958. (Bibliographical details of this specimen and the facsimile are given in the ‘Garamond or Garamont’ post above.) The italic is indeed the Petit Canon italic of Jean Jannon, and it is one of two italics by him which are shown in the specimen of 1643.
Matrices for three sizes of roman and italic types were bought from Jannon by the director of the Imprimerie royale in 1641, the Gros Canon, Petit Canon and Gros Parangon, types that were later cast on bodies of 36-, 24- and 18-points. The relevant document (from which an image was shown in my first blog relating to Garamond/Garamont) is the contract between Jean Jannon and Sébastien Cramoisy dated 1 March 1641 (Archives nationales, Paris, Étude XLIII, liasse 32). The question to which I addressed myself during the later months of 2011 was, ‘which of the types by Jean Jannon named in this document were used during the 17th century at the Imprimerie royale’?
I looked at many examples of printing at the Imprimerie royale held by the British Library, mostly making use of the list of titles printed in his historical study by Auguste Bernard: ‘Catalogue chronologique des Éditions de l’Imprimerie royale du Louvre’, Histoire de l’Imprimerie royale du Louvre (Paris: Imprimerie impériale, 1867), pp. 123–256. My conclusions were as follows:
I found no example of roman types by Jannon in use at the Imprimerie royale. Two sizes of the italics appear, the Petit Canon and the Gros Parangon, accompanying roman types by other hands. Neither the roman nor the italic of the Jannon Gros Canon, the largest of the three sizes, has been found in use at the Imprimerie royale during the 17th century.
To say that I found this a surprising result is an understatement. Like most of his readers (I imagine), I had accepted the appreciative estimation of Jannon by Henri-Jean Martin that I had cited in my earlier post:
‘This man was the worthy follower of the typographical artists and technicians of the century before. One can see appreciation of his efforts in the fact that types cast in the matrices that he sold to the Imprimerie royale were used in the splendid works printed during the early years of this institution.’
(Cet homme était le digne émule des artistes et des techniciens de la typographie du siècle précédent. On pourrait peut-être voir la consécration de ses efforts dans le fait qu’on fondit sur des matrices portant l’empreinte des ses types et par lui vendues à l’Imprimerie royale, les caractères utilisés pour les plus luxueux ouvrages publiés par cet établissement à ses débuts. Livre, pouvoirs et société à Paris au XVIIe siècle, 1969, p. 367.)
Martin’s remarks were elegantly expressed and based on a logical inference, but they appear to be wrong. The types used at the Imprimerie royale during the years following its creation until the end of the century, when the new romain du roi was made, were mostly the ‘classic’ romans of Claude Garamont and italics of Robert Granjon that had been used by Parisian printers for many decades. They appear in the specimen of the Imprimerie royale dated 1643, and the source seems likely to have been Parisian foundries that were well furnished with matrices for these types, of which there were several. In summary it can be said that only two italic types by Jannon appear to have been used at the Imprimerie royale, where they accompany older types, and none of the romans.
Two pieces of printed evidence seem to support my conclusion. One is the fact that only these two Jannon italic types, and none of the romans, appear in the Imprimerie royale specimen of 1643.
All three sets of roman and italic matrices were mentioned as being present in ‘drawers’ (layettes) in an inventory of the materials of the Imprimerie royale drawn up in 1691 (BnF, MS nouv. acq. fr. 2511), but when in 1690 the widow of the director Sébastien Mabre-Cramoisy prepared specimens of the types from matrices ‘belonging to the king’ to be passed to his successor, in addition to five sheets of greek types lettered A to E (the grecs du roi), there was a single sixth sheet, lettered F, a detail from which is shown above, showing only the two smaller italics of Jannon that appear to have been in regular use.
Several questions are raised by my claims, which were the basis of papers that I gave at colloques relating to Garamont at Amiens in September 2011, and in New York in January 2012. Have I overlooked examples of the use of Jannon types (especially the romans) at the Imprimerie royale? Since it is not easy to prove a negative, that is possible; and one reason for offering my own observations in this form is in order to invite others to make their own and to let me know what they find or to publish them.
One the matter of the Jannon type specimen dated 1621, perhaps I should include this note.
In his little pamphlet of 1887 Brincourt appears to be the first writer to mention it as a specimen of types. (There is an oddly garbled reference in the Bigmore & Wyman Bibliography of printing (1880) where it is listed, evidently by someone who had not seen it, as ‘a very interesting work on the few (qy. seven) but admirable editions in 12mo, printed at Sedan'.) Warde appears to have been using the copy in the Bibliothèque Mazarine, Paris, the only one now known and the original of the facsimile published in 1927. In 1887 Brincourt wrote, ‘ce cahier, intitulé: “Espreuve des caractères nouvellement taillez,” est de la plus grande rareté: on y trouve la reproduction de tous les caractères nouveaux, y compris la Nompareille et la Sedanaise avec son Italique.’ And in the later printings of Brincourt’s text (1902, etc.), there is a reference to a copy, without any indication of its whereabouts, as ‘In-4° de 6 ff. pour le titre et de l’Avis “aux Imprimeurs”, plus 10 ff. pour les “Caracteres nouuellement taillez”. But in the copy at the Bibliothèque Mazarine there appear to be only seven leaves which show types, and they do not include either the roman or italic of Nompareille or Sedanaise, although both sizes are named on the leaf of two-line letters. Can Brincourt have seen another and a more complete copy of the specimen, and if so where is it?