27 August, 2007

Casting Bodoni’s type

In June, with the support and cooperation of the Museo Bodoniano, Parma, Stan Nelson and I carried out a pilot project for casting type from one of Bodoni’s own matrices in one of his original moulds. The result, seen above, shows a letter B for a Palestina body (about 24 point), cast from a matrix of the type named after Crema (a town in Lombardy) which is shown on page 117 of Bodoni’s Manuale tipografico of 1818. The ladle is one of a set newly made by Stan Nelson and presented by him to the Museo Bodoniano. The aim of the exercise was to be able to demonstrate the technique of hand casting, and not to make a complete fount. Not any time soon, at any rate. But even if the scale of the exercise is modest in the extreme, the reason for this post is to record the return of the casting of type to Parma after the lapse of some time, and the use of Bodoni’s own materials.