Printing & Typography

Nicolas Jenson's typesetting of Marcellus' Compendiosa Doctrina. Victoria & Albert Museum: one of many interesting distractions to be found there.

Still here…

…but gone a bit quiet on the blogging front.  And that is despite some wonderful things to write about: the tremendous Bruckner 7 from Haitink and the LSO; Orphée et Eurydice in an inventive staging at Covent Garden; a beautifully crafted Strauss evening from the Leipzigers and Chailly; and the intimacy of Rossi’s Orpheus at the Sam Wanamaker…  (more…)

A book backlog…

Pile of wonderful books

The persecutory culprits (artfully arranged, I should add, not ‘tossed’ into a heap!)

So if things have been a bit quiet around here lately, it’s one more sign that the 5:2 effect is in full force. I don’t mean the intermittent fasting diet, I mean the five days that pass in a blur of work and commuting, followed by two days in which you frantically try to pack in everything, from self-enlightenment down to mere life admin, not to mention sleeping, reminding yourself you have friends, and just sitting quietly and wondering about it all.

Amidst this frenzy, I’m becoming increasingly aware of my book backlog. Yes, let’s set aside for now the opera DVDs that are unwatched (in the proper sense of actually concentrating on them) and CDs unlistened to (ditto): there’s something about small piles of unread books that can gang together and take on a persecutory air.  My partner is a fantastic eBayer and peruser of charity shops.  Consequently I have a nicely growing collection of books that are antiquarian, or bordering on it, or otherwise quirky or interesting. A number of them just haven’t made it to being read yet… (more…)

A love of old books

Title page to Virgil's Works, 1696

Title page to Virgil’s Works, 1696

Whether for their content, or simply as beautifully crafted objects, “old books” are undoubtedly a pleasure. In my modest collection the oldest is a copy of the works of Virgil dating to 1696. As someone who can’t read Latin, it’s never likely to be well-thumbed, a fact which is fortunate as the front cover increasingly loses its grip on the spine. Nonetheless, looking through it has thrown up some fascinating annotations which seem worth sharing.

First, the title page: set in red and black, so far as I can make out (and begging your pardon for the Latin translation and interpretation!) it says,

Virgil’s Works. Interpretation and notes illustrative by Charles de la Rue, Society of Jesus [Jesuit], by the command of the most Christian King, as for the use of the most serene Dauphin according to the latest edition of Paris. London, printed by A Swalle & T Childe at the sign of a unicorn, at the cemetery/churchyard of St Paul’s.

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