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LUC DEVROYE


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Charles-J. De Mat

Belgian typefounder in Brussels, about whom John A. Lane writes in Early Type Specimens in the Plantin-Moretus Museum: Little is known about the Joniaux foundry and the possibly related foundry of Charles-J. de Mat, both in Brussels, and their history cannot be written without research in the Brussels archives and a comparison of the few specimens known to survive. This goes beyond the scope of the present catalogue, but I present what little information I can to encourage further study. I have found no record of Joniaux's foundry beyond the information in the present 1828 specimen and the directories for 1830, 1832, 1833 and 1851-1870. The directories for 1826 and 1840 record no foundry bearing Joniaux's name or at the adress he used from 1828 to 1833. The directory for 1833 and type specimens of 1833 and 1837 record C.J. de Mat&Cie, all on Rue de la Batterie, where Joniaux appears in the directories for 1851 and later (though the house number changes several times). This scanty information allows no certain conclusion, but perhaps the foundries of Joniaux and De Mat merged to form De Mat&Cie sometime in the years 1837 to 1839, and De Mat withdrew sometime in the years 1840 to 1850 so that the foundry then continues under the Joniaux name. Since the nature of the relationship between the two firms, if the were related, remains uncertain, I include the De Mat foundry's names and adresses in the chronology above, even for the period before it became De Mat&Cie. De Mat operated a printing office and at least in 1837 also called himself a bookseller and paper maker [boekverkoper volgens mij vanaf 1825!], so the foundry may have taken on a subsidiary role around that time. I know of no specimens by either firm after 1837/38. The present specimen explicitly states that some of its types were cut by Termonia in imitation of Didot's, but I have found no other reference to a punchcutter of this name. The name appears to [be] Belgian, and may come from the area around Hasselt in the province of Limburg. I have not found it in Brussels, so the foundry may have acquired the punches from a punchcutter residing elsewhere.

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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