Pollard Redux (& Again)

SO I was at the University of British Columbia library last month, doing some digging for the Griffo project. I always get distracted in the typography and history-of-the-book sections, just pulling off anything that looks interesting. That’s how I found the Monotype pamphlet shown here, featuring an essay by none other than Alfred W. Pollard, recently featured in HM’s newest publication.

Couple of interesting things:

First, this is a promotional pamphlet for the Centaur and Arrighi types. When I was designing The Kelmscott & Doves Presses, the question of type proved particularly tricky. As anyone familiar with HM books probably knows, I am happy working with a small repertoire of types (& find people who raise type above all other elements of a book wrong-headed, and generally dull). Whatever type I used for the book had to suit the two very different types on the Kelmscott and Doves leaves to be included. It also had to work with the calligraphy Martin Jackson and I had planned. I tried about a half-dozen different faces (including my favored Dante), in various sizes and leadings. Despite feeling that Centaur seemed an overly obvious and safe choice, it was the face to which we kept returning.

Second, both the content and structure of the essay in this pamphlet are remarkably close to the one reprinted in the HM book. That essay was originally written for the 1921 catalogue of William Clark’s Kelmscott and Doves collections. An unkind person might suggest Pollard got paid twice for same essay. I try not to be unkind.

Finally, it’s interesting that his essay, however recycled it might be, was used to promote Centaur and Arrighi. Pollard must have been whispering in our ears when we were looking at the mock-ups.