EXHIBITION: Giambattista Bodoni at Providence Public Library, February 27 – Mid-April to Celebrate 200th Anniversary of Typographer’s Death

Eminent Typographer Matthew Carter to Present Opening Lecture Feb. 27

Providence Public Library will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the death of Giambattista Bodoni, one of history’s most important typographers and printers with an exhibition and opening lecture by the eminent typographer Matthew Carter on Thursday, February 27 at 6:00 pm.  The 225 Washington Street entrance will open at 5:00 pm and the exhibition space will be open to visitors. A curator’s tour of the exhibition will take place at 5:30 pm

Bodoni was born in 1740 in the city of Saluzzo, in what is now Italy. He spent most of his life directing the work of the royal printing house of the Duke of Parma, where he gained a reputation as a careful and detail-oriented printer of books that are lavish not because of their decoration but because of their typography. As a typographer, Bodoni was one of the central characters in the transition from older styles of type (based on the handwriting of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts) to modern typefaces.

The collection of Bodoni materials in the Special Collections department of the Providence Public Library is one of the finest Bodoni collections in the United States.  It includes many books printed by Bodoni as well as ephemeral items (some with corrections in his hand) and a small group of his letters.

The exhibition will be on display in the Providence Journal Rhode Island Room, on Level 1 of the Library, from February 27 through mid-April.

For more information about the exhibition or Special Collections, contact Jordan Goffin, the Special Collections Librarian, at jgoffin@provlib.org or by phone at 401.455.8021. For more information about Special Collections and the Updike Collection, visit www.provlib.org/special-collections

Matthew Carter to present “Genuine Imitations: A Type Designer’s View of Revivals” to Open Giambattista Bodoni Exhibition at PPL February 27

This lecture is the opening event for the Library’s exhibition of materials relating to Giambattista Bodoni, the important typographer and printer who died in Parma in 1813. This event will also serve as the launch of the Library’s Updike Prize for Student Type Design, a competition to reward student type designers who use the wealth of historical typographic materials in the Updike Collection on the History of Printing

Matthew Carter, a world-renowned type designer, will discuss the role of historical models in his own work:

“A number of Matthew Carter’s designs have been based on historical types, ITC Galliard, Big Caslon, Miller, Vincent and the Yale typeface among them. Others, like Snell Roundhand and Mantinia, were derived from non-typographic sources from the past such as handwriting manuals and lettering in the work of a painter. In this lecture he explains his debt to the historical legacy, and describes cases where historically-based designs have been adapted to the needs of contemporary clients. His type revivals have varied in their faithfulness to their models, which raises questions about the responsibilities of the continuator of traditional forms, about degrees of interpretation, adaptation to current technology, ancestor worship, and travesty.”

The Daniel Berkeley Updike Printing Collection at PPL

Daniel Berkeley Updike was one of the most celebrated printers in America’s history, and he created one of the premier private collections on the history of printing. Early printing manuals and type specimens as well as books from his own Merrymount Press formed the core of his collection, which came to the Library upon his death in 1941. This gift, coupled with his generosity to the Library during his lifetime and continued additions throughout the years makes it one of the finest public library collections on printing in the country. Entailing more than 8,000 volumes, as well as ephemera, manuscripts, and artifacts the collection includes the works of great printers from the 15th century to the 20st, as well as hundreds of portraits of members of the book trades and one of the finest collections of typographic specimen books in the country.