An Alphabet of Organic Type (ca.1650)


A series of stunning prints – titled Libellus Novus Elementorum Latinorum – designed by the Polish goldsmith Jan Christian Bierpfaff (1600-ca.1690) and engraved by fellow-countryman Jeremias Falck (1610–1677). According to BibliOdyssey blog, where we first learnt of the images, Bierpfaff worked as an apprentice at the Mackensen family of metalworkers in Cracow, a group “who introduced the Dutch auricular (‘shell or ear-like’) style of ornament into the Polish gold and silver workshops”. We see the influence of this auricular style in Bierpfaff’s letterforms but also the unmistakable baroque stylings of the grotesque. The result is wonderfully surreal, the writhing forms hovering somewhere between the monstrous and floral.

Rijksmuseum
Found via: BibliOdyssey
Underlying Work: PD Worldwide | Digital Copy: No Additional Rights
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  • Chris

    Beautiful. Exactly why I come here.

  • Zeev Bonovitzky

    Where are the letters J & U ?

    • Michael Hurley

      Considering that most writing of the day was in Latin (as was the title of the book in which these letters were found), the alphabet shown was almost certainly intended for use in that language. Latin has no discrete U (V being used for both characters) and no J at all.

  • Leo Elizabeth Rosenstein

    Are there plans to sell prints of these? Because if so, I want to put up the whole alphabet on my walls…