Typeface of the week – Baskerville

Baskerville typeface poster
Typeface of the week – Baskerville

For many people, the first reaction to Baskerville will be Sherlock Holmes and The Hound of the Baskervilles, probably the great detective’s most famous adventure. That was first published in 1902 and the Baskerville typeface dates from the mid-1700s and didn’t become widely popular in Britain until after a revival in 1917. 

A link seems unlikely, but…

Clearly, author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was also a typography enthusiast, several time referencing Holmes’s ability to solve crimes because of his knowledge of typefaces and identifying their characteristics. The first mention of Baskerville is in a footnote in The Adventure of the Empty House that explains how Holmes spotted the value of a rare book printed in Baskerville, adding: “The book you are now reading is printed from Baskerville type.”Little wonder then that the Hound was also set in the eponymous face and quotes Holmes telling Watson: “The detection of types is one of the most elementary branches of knowledge.” What more justification could be asked for reading Typeface of the Week? (Not that any should be needed!)

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