One of BD's passions is, quite rightfully, typography. We get all excited at the very mention of it and even more excited when an intriguing tale unfolds.
The recent discovery of the original pieces of the Doves Type, tirelessly recovered by the passionate designer Robert Green and brilliantly communicated by journalist Justin Quirk in the Sunday Times Magazine, got The BD Studio buzzing. The Press itself was located very close to the Studio and being loyal local fans, it added to our fascination.
Bookbinder T J Cobden-Sanderson (a friend of William Morris) set up the Doves Bindery in 1893 which was named after the nearby Doves Tavern in Hammersmith. The ensuing Doves Press partnership, between Cobden Sanderson and Emery Walker, published their first volume in 1901. They created a new typeface called Doves Type which was very distinctive in its time - clear and simple, a modernist feel and as Robert Green states "The importance of the Doves Type to to the development of 20th- century type design is vastly underestimated".
Cobden-Sanderson developed a fear that Walker would sell the type for use on a mechanised press, something he believed would lead to unemployment and hence destroy peoples lives. He also felt that Walker didn't spend enough time at the Press (Walker was juggling many businesses). They eventually dissolved their business but never agreed what would become of the type. It ended with a row and in 1916, in a fury, Cobden-Sanderson threw bits of the type into the River Thames near Hammersmith bridge.
Robert Green's 4 year work on the Doves Type project ended in his commissioning divers who pulled the portion of lost type from the river. Buried treasure. Robert has spent years of research and development to produce the first digital version of the type face which you can buy here.
Yes typography can be VERY exciting...