Letterform Characters: From Stone Carver to Type Designer
October 9, 2017 – February 17, 2018
in Upper and Lower Main Galleries and Lecture Hall
“Letterform Characters: From Stone Carver to Type Designer” will be on exhibition in the main gallery of Hill Memorial Library from October 9, 2017 – February 17, 2018. The exhibition is presented by LSU Libraries Special Collections and the LSU School of Art, and features two distinctive perspectives on typeface history and design. The research was supported in part by a Craft Research Grant from the Center for Craft, Creativity & Design.
Through her research of incised letterforms on gravestones from the British Isles and colonial New England (circa mid sixteenth – late eighteenth century), Lynne Baggett, LSU Professor of Art, presents through this exhibition a challenging assessment of the relationship between influential crosscurrents of craft, technology and design over the course of nearly five centuries. Exhibiting her own photographs of carved gravestone lettering alongside selected printed works from LSU Libraries Special Collections, Baggett compares the unique visual and aesthetic characteristics of incised letterforms with those typographic conventions found in printed material of the period. Her innovative approach provides cultural and historical context, laying the groundwork for a sustained discussion on the derivation of the incised letterform, and the recognition of its significance within the broader realm of typography. This portion of the exhibition is on display in the first floor gallery.
Selections from the LSU Libraries’ extensive Bruce Rogers Collection are on display in the second floor gallery. Master American book designer Bruce Rogers is considered the preeminent typographer of the 20th century; Centaur is the best known of his typeface designs. According to the Oxford Companion to the Book, Rogers’ unique style is defined through “his fastidious yet inventive classicism, his relentless perfectionism, and his superlative use of type ornaments.” Art historians and rare book experts name the Oxford Lectern Bible (1935) his finest work; this volume, along with an account of its printing, are on exhibition among many other exemplary works Rogers designed and printed over the span of his career.
In association with the exhibition and the LSU School of Art lecture series, “Character Witnesses,” internationally renowned British type designer Matthew Carter will visit the LSU campus. A 2005 New Yorker profile described him as ‘the most widely read man in the world’ by considering the amount of text set in his commonly used fonts. His four-decade long career has bridged physical type, phototypesetting and digital font design, as well as the design of custom lettering. Carter was the recipient of a 2010 MacArthur Fellowship award. His most used fonts are the classic web fonts Verdana and Georgia and the Windows interface font Tahoma, as well as other designs including Bell Centennial, Miller and Galliard.
Matthew Carter will speak in the LSU School of Art and Design Building on Wednesday, November 15th at 5:00 pm. His talk is titled, “Bruce Rogers’ Centaur Type.” A reception will follow at Hill Memorial Library from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm. The exhibition, lecture and reception are free and open to the public.
Images: Top – Gravestone from Cartmel Priory, UK, c. 1700. Bottom – The Odyssey by Homer. Book design and ornamental illustration by Bruce Rogers.
John Earle Uhler Papers
in Reading Room
John Earle Uhler was a writer, scholar, and English professor at LSU from 1928-1961. Prior to joining the faculty at LSU, where he served as first president of the LSU Faculty Club, Uhler worked as a reporter, copy editor, and actor. A charter member of the Renaissance Society of America, his research interests included Shakespeare, 18th century English drama, English Renaissance literature, and linguistics. The collection consists of correspondence, literary and academic manuscripts, printed material, teaching materials, and photographs.
In 1931, Uhler published Cane Juice, a novel depicting southern Louisiana and student life at LSU. A public controversy ensued in which Uhler was accused of slander by Father F. L. Gassler, culminating in his suspension and eventual removal from the faculty by the executive committee of the LSU Board of Supervisors. After a six-month legal battle involving the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Association of University Professors, Uhler was reinstated in April of 1932.