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LUC DEVROYE


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Joos Lambrecht

One of the first Belgian printers and typefounders, who lived and operated in Gent, Belgium, in the early 16th century. Born in Gent in 1491, he died in Wezel (Wesel) in Germany in 1556 or 1557. Peter Van Lancker describes his contributions. In 1539, he introduced the roman letter form in Gent, and even proposed an upright italic (IT 16 in Vervliet, It57 in Machiels, according to Van Lancker) in the publication Refereynen int Vroede, int Zotte, int Amoureuze. To read about Lambrecht, besides the plentiful of information on Van Lancker's page, one can also consult the thick opus by Dr. Hendrik D.L. Vervliet, Sixtienth-Century Printing Types of the Low Countries, Menno Hertzberger&Co, Amsterdam 1968, who wrote: Son of Jan Lambrecht, he came, it would seem, from a family long established in the town, engravers of seals and of marks for authenticating the renowed Ghentish cloth. Certainly Joos was successor to Vincent Lambrecht who performed this office from 1512 until 1537-1538. During the nearly 20-year period (1536-1553) of his activity at Ghent Joos Lambrecht proved to be a many-sided man typical of the Renaissance, poet, schoolmaster, seal-engraver, printer and punchcutter. As printer he came to be known for the outstanding quality of his presswork, the best of the Netherlands of his century, Plantin was de tweede helft? nvdr), and for his numerous mint-ordinances with woodcuts of coins that were copied until late in the century, by Jan Ewoutszoon of Amsterdam and others. His capacity of punchcutter is quite firmly established by the colophons in his numerous books, where he calls himself "lettersteker, typoglyphus, tailleur de lettres", by entries in the town's taxation, where he is described from 1540 onwards as "letterstekere", by a contract of 7 April 1548 binding Lambrecht to deliver new founts of type to Cornelius Manillus, printer at Ghent. Moreover, it is known that in 1553 Lambrecht sold his printing-office and typefoundry to Pieter van den Kere, the father of Hendrik van den Keere the elder (and great-grandfather of the famous Dutch map engraver Pieter van de Keere, alias Kaerius), that Ameet Tavernier learned punchcutting from him, and that in 1580 Hendrik van den Keere the younger had several sets of matrices that he described as Lambrecht's. Van Lancker discusses several sources and analyzes Lambrecht's oeuvre. Some types by Lambrecht (not all cut by himself though):

  • T37, "Lambrecht's Pica Textura" (after 1541). Vervliet is not sure this was done by Lambrecht.
  • T48, "Lambrecht's Brevier Textura" (after 1541). Same doubts in Vervliet's mind.
  • T25, "English-bodied French Textura" dates 1499-1500. Used by, but not cut by Lambrecht.
  • R12, "Lambrecht's 2-line Great Primer Lower-Case" was probably cut by Lambrecht in 1546.
  • R23, "Lambrecht's English Roman" (after 1543).
  • R25, "Lambrecht's Pica Roman" (after 1536).
  • R30, "Lambrecht's Roman Capitals on Bourgeois" (1545).
  • IT16, Lambrecht's Bourgeois Italic (after 1536). Vervliet: Lambrecht was the only printer to use this small Italic, which for its time is not without merit, and he did so from the beginning of his career in 1536. In a book of 1538 a set of narrower capitals occurs as well as the original capitals. In his well-known Refereynen of 1539 Lambrecht used this type for the passage in which he expressed his preference for Roman (and Italic) letters and his objection to the Gothic; but for this passage he used it with Gothic capitals and a few variant lower-case sorts. In the inventory of the remaining stock in Van den Keere's typefoundry drawn up by Thomas de Vechter soon after 1581, there is an entry, 'An old Brevier by Joos Lambrecht', probably referring to matrices for this face. One of Lambrecht's italics inspired Laurent Bourcellier in 2009 to create Joos.

Some scans courtesy of Peter Van Lancker who researched Lambrecht's work: Bastaard Mediaan (1548), Grieks Mediaan (1536), Italiek Bourgeois (1536), Italiek Mediaan (1541), Romein Augustijn 91543), Romein Mediaan (1536), Schwabacher Augustijn 91550), Textura Augustijn (1539), Textura Bible (1541), Textura Gros Paragon (1551), Textura Gros Romain (1541), Textura Mediaan (1541), Textura Moyen Canon (1539).

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file name: Joos Lambrecht Bastaard Mediaan 1548


file name: Joos Lambrecht Grieks Mediaan 1536


file name: Joos Lambrecht Italiek Bourgeois 1536


file name: Joos Lambrecht Italiek Mediaan 1541


file name: Joos Lambrecht Romein Augustijn 1543


file name: Joos Lambrecht Romein Mediaan 1536


file name: Joos Lambrecht Schwabacher Augustijn 1550


file name: Joos Lambrecht Textura Augustijn 1539


file name: Joos Lambrecht Textura Bible 1541


file name: Joos Lambrecht Textura Gros Paragon 1551


file name: Joos Lambrecht Textura Gros Romain 1541


file name: Joos Lambrecht Textura Mediaan 1541


file name: Joos Lambrecht Textura Moyen Canon 1539







Luc Devroye ⦿ School of Computer Science ⦿ McGill University Montreal, Canada H3A 2K6 ⦿ lucdevroye@gmail.com ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org/fonts.html