¶ This is a project that had been in the works for over three years: a reproduction of the original drawings of Felice Feliciano's Alphabetum Romanum, an instructional treatise on the correct rendering of Roman capital letters, writtten by Feliciano in c.1460.
¶ I first encountered the drawings in a facimile edition, beautifully produced by the Officina Bodoni (exactly 500 years after the original was created), at a book exhibit at the Buffalo Public Library in 2008. The letterforms simply grabbed me by the throat and I've been unable to catch my breath ever since. As I was, at the time, unable to obtain a copy of the 1960 edition (although I've found one since), I decided simply to publish an edition, if for no other reason than that I would then have a copy myself. From that point began a 2-year process of collecting materials on Feliciano and his alphabet, as well as redrawing his letters from scratch.
¶ While both the original manuscript (held in the collection of the Vatican Library) and the 1960 editions include descriptive passages detailing the construction of the letterforms, I have instead kept the book very simple: the book includes a brief foreword by Paul Gehl (special collections librarian at the Newberry Library in Chicago, and an expert on Renaissance alphabets), and an equally short afterword that I have written detailing the production of the book, printed from hand-set 14pt Cloister Oldstyle. The main body of the book simply showcases the letterforms, one to a spread, printed in 3 colours from polymer plates into Magnani Biblos papers, the same stock used for the 1960 edition. Bound into stiff handmade wrappers (the paper produced by Reg Lissel in Vancouver), the edition is 116 copies, and it appears I'll be binding them for some time to come.
5.875" × 7.75", 80pp. 2010
The letterforms are based on the original drawings of Felice Feliciano, c.1460, reproduced by Jason Dewinetz and printed from over 90 polymer plates on a Vandercook 15-21 flatbed cylinder press. The paper is Magnani Biblos, milled in Italy and generously donated by Caryl Peters of the Frog Hollow Press in Victoria, while the cover and endsheets were handmade by Reg Lissel in Vancouver. The text types are ATF Cloister Old Style and Monotype Cloister Italic, designed in 1913 by Morris Fuller Bendon, inspired by the 15th-century types of Nicolas Jenson. The Monotype sorts were generously cast by Jim Rimmer in New Westminster, BC. The type was set, the inks mixed, and pages printed and the book bound during the long, warm days of Okanagan summer. Produced in an edition of 115 copies: 100 numbered copies for sale and 15 ( I - XV ) for private distribution.