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Which clippings match 'Johannes Gutenberg' keyword pg.1 of 1
03 MAY 2012

Ampers-Fan: the history of the ampersand

"The dark horse of the keyboard, the ampersand exists to join things together, yet remains set apart. Whilst everyone can read and understand the ampersand, or the & symbol, how many of us know where it came from?

Alistair Sooke traces the history of the funny little character that has quietly given joy to so many, from a bored medieval scribe right the way through to a modern day digital font designer. Delighting type designers throughout the centuries as a chance within a font to create a small piece of art, it is a joyful moment in a functional resource. Speaking to Ampersfans Alastair enters into a world of letterpress, punchcutting and typography and discovers how the ampersand can be found at every step of the way, bringing a joyful flick of a tail to the dullest document.

If you thought the ampersand was a bright young thing in the world of type, you couldn't be more wrong; first credited to Marcus Tiro around 63 BC, combing the letters e and t from the Latin word 'et'. Fighting off competition from his nemesis, the 'Tironian Mark', Alastair then tracks the ampersand to 16th Century Paris where it was modelled in the hands of type designer to the King, Claude Garamond, then back across the sea to William Caslon's now famous interpretation, designed with a joyful array of flourishes and swirls. Alastair will discover how the ampersand became a calling card for many typographers, showcasing some of their best and most creative work.

A simple twist of the pen, the ampersand has managed to captivate its audience since print began, in Ampersfan Alistair tries to pin down this slippery character down once and for all."

(BBC Radio 4 Programmes, 2012)

Alistair Sooke (2012). "Ampers–Fan", Producer: : Jo Meek & Gillian Donovan, A Sparklab Production for BBC Radio 4, Last broadcast on Monday, 16:00 on BBC Radio 4.

TAGS

16th century • 63 BC • Alistair Sooke • Ampers-Fan • ampersand • BBC Radio 4Bodleian Library • Claude Garamond • digital font designer • e and t • esperluette • et • European Renaissancefont • functional resource • Garamond • history of type • interpretationJan TschicholdJohannes GutenbergLatin wordletterformletterpress • ligature • Marcus Tiro • medievalParis • punchcutting • symbol • Tironian Mark • twist of the pen • type • type designer • type designerstypefacetypography • William Caslon • world of type

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
02 FEBRUARY 2012

Upside Down, Left To Right: A Letterpress Film

"A short documentary film about letterpress and one of the few remaining movable–type printing workshops in the UK, situated at Plymouth University, featuring Paul Collier."

(Danny Cooke)

Fig.1 A film by Danny Cooke dannycooke.co.uk, soundtrack by Tony Higgins tonyhiggins.org.

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TAGS

Adobe Illustrator • alloy • bookscraftcultural technologyDanny Cookedesign processdevicegraphic designhand-crafted typeinkJohannes Gutenbergletteringletterpresslithographymaterialitymechanical • metal • metal type • movable metal • movable typepagesetting • Paul Collier • Plymouth University • press • printingprinting press • printing workshops • processpublishingshort documentaryshort filmtactile • tactile process • technical process • technologytraditiontraditional processtraditional techniquestypetypographyUK

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
10 APRIL 2005

Giulio Camillo's Memory Theatre

"The Renaissance marks a turning point in the history of academic practice. As the knowledge and understanding of the world became more complex, oral discourse, based uniquely on mentally archived facts, was no longer an adequate means of storing information. The increasing number of knowledge theories and models required dissemination facilitated by the printing press, which perpetrated and accelerated the accumulation of written knowledge. Information could be more easily recalled as the library became the new 'palace of memory'. With regard to the structure, summoning and visualisation of stored information, mnemonic treatises of the Gutenberg Era abandon the presentation of individual storage strategies. In place of these, systems of arranging and visualising the by now immense knowledge of the world itself were developed. One example was the well–known Memory Theatre of Giulio Camillo. (Fig.1)

Based on the seven pillars of Solomon's House of Wisdom, it was divided into seven levels representing the order of the world from the seven planets up to Arts and Sciences, Religion and Law. The accumulated knowledge was presented in images, symbols and texts, some of them immediately visible, others confined to drawers, boxes or coffers beneath the images."

(Katja Kwastek)

Fig. 1. Reconstruction of the memory theatre of Giulio Camillo. Reproduced after: Aby Warburg: Der Bilderatlas Mnemosyne, Warnke, M. (ed.), Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2000, p. 85.

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TAGS

Aby Warburgallegoryconceptual metaphorEuropean Renaissance • Giulio Camillo • Johannes Gutenberglibrarymemorymemory palace • memory theatre • mnemonic • palace of memory • Solomon • Solomons House of Wisdom • storage
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