Book: Dr Geoffrey Roper

Typographical ornaments

LUIDL, Philipp & HUBER, Helmut.

Poole : Blandford Press, 1985. 368 pp. ISBN: 0 7137 1641 X (Translation of Ornamente, Munich 1983.)

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After a 30-page technical and historical introduction, this book consists of 363 pages of reproductions of ornamental motifs cast as typographic sorts and used to adorn printed books. Many of these are of the infinitely repeatable kind, and were used to create extended patterns traditionally called "arabesques". This name alludes to the origins of such patterns in Islamic decorative art. In the 19th century Arab book designers seized on this idea and used this kind of typographic ornament to produce elaborate printed ‘unwāns (headpieces) and page borders equivalent to painted illumination in Islamic manuscripts. This book gives a splendid selection of what was available, using type specimens from leading European foundries.