Thursday, June 11, 2009

Leitura Primeira of Joaquim Jozé Ventura da Silva

First Sample Setting

Throughout Æthelwold Etc. there are repeated references to the work of the pre-Victorian Portuguese writing master Joaquim Jozé Ventura da Silva. Ventura worked in that vibrant period of lettering history between the Romantic and the Industrial eras. While his immediate (Spanish) predecessors, notably Servidori and Torio de la Riva, utilized a thorough pedagogical approach, Ventura seems to have been hell bent on having fun. As such, his work, particularly his manual Regras Methódicas para le Aprender a Escrever, is suffused with an enthusiasm lacking in the work of both his elders and his contemporaries. In the Regras there is a small specimen of Typo Portuguez nestled between examples of Ventura's incomparable Bastrdinho hand and his fantastically ornamented capitals. The specimen is a sober pause in the manual's kinetic exuberance and it displays seven optical sizes of a roman alphabet from the large Parangona I to the minute Breviario Primeiro. ¶Since I first encountered Ventura's manual I have developed a kind of inexplicable lust for his lettering which I allow to play out in Æthelwold. The digital rendering of his Leitura Primeira (above) will be used in the Æthelwold I to set To Ianthe by Lord Byron at a miniscule point size.