Specimens of Diverse Characters
Specimens of Diverse Characters
Aquatint, Handmade paper, Letterpress
Hand-sewn, Leather case, quarter
CollectionLimited Edition Artists Books
Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD)
The University of Chicago Library
University of Minnesota
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Special Collections
Yale University, Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library
Specimens of Diverse Characters is cleverly disguised as a startlingly crisp and innovative type specimen book. However, this Trojan horse of exemplary printing discharges a passionate and critical perspective on the use of standard and proprietary type, as well as on the function of design and decoration in the 21st century.
The paper was handmade with two custom watermarks at Velke Losiny, Czech Republic. The type and images were predominantly printed from photopolymer plates with the exception of Iohann Titling, Nicolas, and Lisbon Ornaments which were cut, fit, and cast in new foundry metal by Micah Currier at the Dale Guild Type Foundry. The image on the Aeschylus page was drawn directly on the page with candle smoke. The binding was designed and executed by Craig Jensen at Book Lab II.
Completing this book has required the advice and assistance of many talented people. Nancy Loeber provided invaluable assistance in the studio; Micah Currier and Theo Rehak shared their insight and talents in the type foundry; Peter Thomas and Vincent FitzGerald consulted on what water and air do to paper; Peter Koch, Jonathan Gerken, and Richard Seibert suggested alternative approaches to printing; Susan Schlechter read and edited the Notes; Camila Maroja prepared a rote translation of On the Usefulness and Origin of Writing upon which my version is based; Allan Madin translated material relevant to the history of the Rhine Tiling; Mark Strand, Roger Pearson, and Ann Vasaly kindly agreed to let me print their texts; Craig Jensen brought his usual skill and patience to the binding; Mark Dimunation and Jane Rodgers Siegel aided and advised in the library; and, finally, Annie Schlechter advised, shared, consulted, read, discussed, and suggested from the first to the very last.
— Russell Maret
(Maret (Russell)) MARET (Russell) Specimens of a Diverse Characters. (Edited by Susan Schlechter). New York. 2011, 50 copies (of an edition of 70 copies) printed using black, blue, grey, and red on Velke Losiny handmade paper, illustrating several typefaces and a suite of ornaments that were inspired in part by the lettering in Joaquim Joze Venture da Silva’s [c. 1819] writing manual, ‘Regreas Methodicas’, the images are printed in a variety of colours and displayed with startling originality. Maret has created the image used on the page dedicated to Aeschylus by the use of candle smoke directly onto the page, pp. [vi] (blanks), ,  (blanks), folio, original scarlet morocco-backed pale grey boards patterned overall to a small, tightly spaced mid grey typographical design, the backstrip gilt lettered, untrimmed, grey cloth box with a scarlet gilt lettered label, fine.
— Blackwell’s Rare Books, Oxford, ENGLAND
Seventy copies were made. Fifty-five copies, numbered 1-50 and AP1-AP5 are bound in quarter leather with paper-covered boards printed from foundry Lisbon Ornaments.
A deluxe set of fifteen copies are bound in full leather using two different skins. They are boxed with a suite of prints and a form of foundry Iohann Titling type, one copy available.