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John A. Lane

The 2003 Winner

John A. Lane on Dutch type

John Lane, an independent scholar located in the Netherlands, held the 2003 Fellowship for his research on the type specimens of the Voskens/Maapa Foundry. Mr. Lane wrote in his proposal:

“In 1641 Bartholomeus and Reinier Voskens set up their Amsterdam typefoundry. Both moved to Germany in the 1650s, but Bartholomeus returned by 1668. His son acquired the Vallet and Blaeu foundries (both derived from that established by Nicolaes Briot ca. 1612) and his grandson cut types to 1710. From that time until A.G. Mappa bought it, the foundry added little new material. It had about 150 types by about 20 punchcutters.

“Mappa moved his typefoundry to New York in 1789, what was then probably the largest foreign collection of matrices ever brought to America. He had set up in Rotterdam (and later Delft) after acquiring nearly the entire Voskens foundry in 1780, and sold his New York foundry in 1794. His romans and italics were already old-fashioned when he acquired them, perhaps contributing to his lack of success in America, but his texturas, frakturs, hebrews and greeks appeared in the 1812 specimen of Binny & Ronaldson, who also had some of his other non-Latin types. Mappa’s collection played an important role in early American printing and typefounding.

“Over the years I have identified many types by Briot, identified 37 fragments as the remains of Vallet’s specimens sent to Oxford in 1672 (the oldest surviving Dutch specimens by any founder in this group), sorted out much of the chronology of the foundries and genealogy of the Voskens family, identified and dated many of the types, and even found Mappa’s request for permission to install a typefounding furnace when he set up in Rotterdam. Museum Plantin­Moretus and Museum Enschede have the largest collections of (mostly undated) Voskens and Mappa specimens.

“In a catalogue of about 200 type specimens (ca. 1550-ca. 1850) at Plantin-Moretus, to appear in 2004, I will date each specimen, transcribe the title and imprint in full, report the format and sheet size, describe the paper stock(s), list the kinds of types (each with the range of sizes), indicate types added since the foundry’s previous specimen, and note punchcutters identified in the specimen and in published literature., with some additions from my own research (it will not be possible to give notes on each type individually).  A very brief history of each typefoundry will include a chronology of its addresses, master founders and owners, and in some cases a family tree. The broad scope of the catalogue and limited funding has not allowed me to give the 12 Voskens and Mappa specimens and the foundry the attention they deserve.

“With this APHA fellowship I expect to be able to compare these specimens with related ones at Enschede and elsewhere, allowing me to better establish the chronology of specimens and types, note additions not present in all copies, describe the paper stock even in specimens comprising less than a whole sheet, and fully describe specimens when the Plantin copy is incomplete. It would also allow me to use the Plantin-Moretus and Amsterdam archives (correspondence with those who sent the specimens, records of the firm’s addresses, etc.) to date the specimens more precisely, improve my history of the foundry and build a foundation for dating and identifying more of their types.

“Any material I cannot use in my catalogue will bear fruit later in a bibliography of Dutch type specimens, catalogue of seventeenth-century Dutch printing types, histories of the Dutch foundries, and perhaps a note in Printing History on Mappa’s types in American specimens.”