The Learned Press and the printed page, 1584-1780s
Luna, P. and Ould, M. (2013) The Learned Press and the printed page, 1584-1780s. In: Gadd, I. (ed.) The History of Oxford University Press. Oxford University Press, Oxford. (In Press)
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In the year 1702 two books were published, in Oxford and Paris, that can now be seen as defining the presses that produced them. In Paris, the Imprimerie Royale issued the Médailles sur les principaux évènements du règne de Louis le Grand, a large folio of text and plates intended to glorify the regime of Louis XIV. In Oxford, the first, large format volume of Clarendon’s The history of the rebellion appeared; painstakingly edited at Christ Church, it brought prestige and profit to the University. Both were considerable statements of publishing intent in graphic form: both were sumptuous, and both used types and decorations reserved to their respective presses. But the French book points the way to future developments in typography, particularly in the design of type, while the Oxford book is a summation of the past, and its types and page design would be abandoned by the Oxford press in little more than thirty years. Tracing the printed pages of Oxford books from the late sixteenth to the mid-eighteenth century shows changes that parallel wider developments in English and European typography, but from a distinctly Oxford perspective.
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