The St. Augustin Civilité
The Civilité is a form of script that flourished in northern Europe in the sixteenth century. The Civilité was originally used to render contracts, which explains the theatrical flourishes with which its lines are ended: like the trailing stroke written on a bank check, these gestures ensured that no additional terms could be added.
Of the many vernacular scripts that were adapted for printing types, the Civilité was among the most challenging, and it was in the hands of typefounder Robert Granjon that it achieved its highest form. Granjon, a French punchcutter working in Antwerp, was perhaps the best punchcutter of the sixteenth century; he was certainly the most versatile. Granjon's italics have served as the basis for most of the twentieth century's Garamond revivals, including Robert Slimbach's Adobe Garamond (1989). Granjon's fiery romans, and some of his saucier italics, have been perfectly captured by Matthew Carter's Galliard (1978).
This typeface is a digitization of Granjon's "St. Augustin Lettre Francoise" of circa 1562, "St. Augustin" describing the size of the type, roughly equivalent to a modern 18 point. It is reproduced from Civilité Types by Harry Carter and H. D. L. Vervliet, The Oxford Bibliographical Society, Oxford University Press, 1966. A few modifications have been introduced in the interest of readability: the lowercase o has been lightened, the lowercase t and j have been heavied, and a lowercase w — absent in the original French — has been created from the more familiar form of the v. The numbers and punctuation in the font are not from the "Lettre Francoise," but from a later Granjon Civilité, the "Courante" which first appeared in 1567. As with the Fell Types, characters that postdate the original source have been fabricated in a sympathetic style.