Aldus Manutius (1449-1515)

M.T. Ciceronis Orationum

M.T. Ciceronis Orationum

Guest blogger Normana Wight discovered some of the gems in the History & Art of the Book Collection after she was introduced to Venetian printer Aldus Manutius (1449-1515) in her newsletter from the Dante Alighieri Society.  2015 is the quincentenary of the death of Aldus, so it is timely to investigate his presence in the collections of the State Library of Queensland. Normana shares her discoveries of his work  in the Library’s collections with this blog post.

Aldus Manutius
•   Invention of italic type
•   Earliest editions of pocket-sized books
•   The modern use of the semi colon
•   Development of the modern appearance of the comma

“Types of Types”
Do you ever, when reading a book, muse about the types of typeface that are used, their size, blackness, flow?
Graphic designers, and of course compositors (typesetters) know a bit, or a lot about the look of the printed word and its history.
Recently, in my newsletter from the Dante Alighieri Society (I TRY to learn Italian language) there was an article about the 15th Century Venetian printer, Aldus Manutius, and his invention of italic type.

When I mentioned this to Christene, she said, ‘We have some of those in our collection, including an octavo book’ – the precursor of the ‘Penguin’.
Small format books were a big step forward for the 16th century reader. Their introduction made it possible for a book to be carried in a pocket or satchel.
Think; the era of bibles chained to a lectern in churches.

So here we go

M.T. Ciceronis Orationum

M.T. Ciceronis Orationum

In the State Library of Queensland, there is a collection of books which will interest the wide ranging bibliophile.
For example;
•    The reader of old texts
•    The designer of new (21st century) texts
•    The potential author looking for a suitable visual style for example, to use for the production of a new  book
•    Anyone interested in the LOOK of things.

“Dolphin & Anchor” device of Aldus Manutius

“Dolphin & Anchor” device of Aldus Manutius

There are several thrilling books available for you to study:
M.T. Ciceronis Orationum,   Publisher: Aldus Manutius, Venice 1519.
Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, Publisher: In cedibus Aldi Manutii, Venice 1499. (facsimile)

Illustration from: Hypnerotomachia Poliphili

Illustration from: Hypnerotomachia Poliphili

The First Editor: Aldus Pius Manutius, Publisher: Targ, San Francisco 1983.
The Book of Books: 500 Years of Graphic Innovation, Publisher: Thames and Hudson 2012.

“Trolley packed with research material when seeking Aldus Manutius”

“Trolley packed with research material when seeking Aldus”

Normana Wight