The Fell Types

By the beginning of the eighteenth century, there were said to be more Dutch types in England than in Holland. Dutch types weren't merely prized for their visual or metallurgical qualities, they filled a vacuum in the marketplace: a Star Chamber decree of the previous century had placed such oppressive restrictions on domestic typefounding as to virtually forbid its practice in England.

Although these prohibitions were lifted by royal decree in 1637, their effects were felt well into the next century. One of the first to recognize England's overwhelming reliance on foreign sources was Bishop John Fell, who was charged in 1667 with accumulating a comprehensive set of types for the Oxford University Press. Rather than continuing to import Dutch types, Fell chose to import a Dutch typefounder, Peter de Walpergen, who cut for the press a collection of fonts included in the assortment known today as "The Fell Types." Among these was a handsome and practical set of book types cut before 1693, in the "great primer" size (roughly 14pt), which are revived here. These faces were among the first 'Old Styles' cast in England, and as such are an essential link between the seventeenth century Dutch Old Styles of Kis, Van Dijck and Voskens, and the eighteenth century English Old Styles of William Caslon.

These faces are reproduced from Notes on a Century of Typography at the University Press Oxford, 1693-1794, by Horace Hart, reproduced in facsimile with notes by Harry Carter (The Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1970.) All of the original characters have been preserved intact, except the lowercase and small cap j which have been lightened, and an italic ff ligature, which has been derived from the ffi. Characters that postdate the original Fell Types, such as the Euro and at-symbol (@), have been fabricated in a sympathetic style.


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    Texture. The product of an unusual design process, the fonts of the Historical Allsorts retain all the handsome idiosyncrasies of the typefaces they revive.

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    Special Characters. Each of the Historical Allsorts includes the complete complement of characters provided in the original source.

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    Language Support. The Historical Allsorts features our Latin-X™ character set, covering more than 140 languages throughout the world — including all of Central Europe.

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