High-Quality Doves Specimen Online

I found this document at the Internet Archive:
It includes pages from several publications of the Bible famous for their typography, including the ones by Baskerville and Rogers. What particularly piqued my interest was a page from the Doves Bible, at sufficient resolution, unlike other books by the Doves Press on the site, that it was clear what the shape of the comma was.


  • A great find! Thank you, Mr Savard.

    Does anyone know, by any chance, what face they used for the very first page of that document? The one that lists changes across the centuries, with red rubric type for the century? I really like it a lot. It's so excellently British. 
  • Also, the face on p. 32, right after the Baskerville sample. Is that a species of Bell? What a wonderful creation, and why are the modern digital Bells so inferior to that?
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,068
    edited June 2020
    When I look at the page immediately following Baskerville, which is page 32, I see a leaf from a Greek Bible, not an example of anything resembling Bell. However, the numerals in the margins on the next page do look like those of Bell, so I'll assume that is the page you meant. Upon close examination, the type more closely resembles Ronaldson No. 1, or Oxford, than Bell - the digit 4 is a tip-off.
    Oxford, of course, was the typeface used for Daniel Berkeley Updike's Printing Types, Their History, Forms, and Use.
  • Huh. Maybe I got the page number wrong. I meant, this face. 

  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,068
    edited June 2020
    Yes, and that's the one that I was referring to as well when I said it was more like Ronaldson No. 1 or Oxford than Bell. The low horizontal bar on the 4 distinguishes that typeface from Bell; also, the 2, while curly, is not as extreme as that of Bell.
    And here's a sample of Oxford, in which those distinguishing characteristics are visible.
    Searching for more information online, I found that the document in question contained the actual leaves from the Bibles in question, rather than reproductions; enough existed to allow 100 copies to be made, and at least one is on sale at AbeBooks for just a little over $14,000.
    The individual pages are online as images at the Ball State University digital media repository, with identification (the PDF I found seems to be incomplete) and the page in question is from Thomson's Bible. This 1808 volume was by the first Secretary of Congress, Charles Thomson, and was also the first English translation of the Septuagint.
    And the entire volume is at the Internet Archive, here:
    As for the typeface on the first page... I thought it was particularly beautiful and was curious about it as well: I have a particular interest in 'invisible' typefaces like Century Expanded, Corona, and Linotype's Number Twenty-One. I thought it might be Baskerville, but the capital J did not descend below the baseline, and that also excluded Imprint. When I throw an image of it into WhatTheFont, however, Caslon predominates in the result.
    I also paged through The Encyclopedia of Type Faces and The Type Specimen Book (the one by Van Nostrand Reinhold, from V & M Typographical)... and in the latter source, I ran across something called Linotype Caslon No. 4. Not only does its J not descend below the baseline, but the lower loop in the lower-case G is somewhat squashed. It's the closest thing I could find, but I'm sure I've seen this typeface before, perhaps on packaging.
    All else I can find of Caslon No. 4 is this appearance of the 18 point version in the Linotype One-Line Specimen Book:

  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,059
    Yes, that is quite a high resolution, you can really see the Dove type’s slab serifs (p.36)
  • Thank you, Mr Savard. I learned a lot!! I appreciate you sharing your erudition with us. There's no end to the things I wish I knew about type. Some quick thoughts in response to your note. 

    1.  I got thrown off by your mention of Oxford; the context misled me into thinking of a very different face. Now I see the one you had in mind doesn't seem to have been digitized -- at any rate, not by any of the outfits I'm familiar with. If anyone knows different, I'd be happy to be pointed in the right direction. 

    2.  I too have a secret fondness for 'invisible' type. I collect them compulsively. But, I must say, I'm not familiar with the one you mention, Linotype No. Twenty-One. Was it ever for sale? Another one I like a lot, but is no longer for sale, is AT News no. 2. A sample, below. 

    3.  The Caslon no. 4 you showed us strikes me as an extinct relative to the (also defunct) Berthold Caslon Buch and to Caslon 540. Is that another face that didn't make it to digital?
  • Though in my opinion Century Expanded is the most beautifully invisible of them. Too bad the digital versions are a bit too spindly. That's a face that could use the perfecting touch of someone like Mr Berkson. 
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,068
    3.  The Caslon no. 4 you showed us strikes me as an extinct relative to the (also defunct) Berthold Caslon Buch and to Caslon 540. Is that another face that didn't make it to digital?

    Given that Caslon No. 4 didn't make it to the Linotype "Big Red" book, that it didn't make it to digital wouldn't surprise me.

    Caslon No. 3 was extensively pictured in "Big Red", but I didn't bother with it, as it was clearly not the typeface in question; although its capital J did not descend below the baseline, that was because it was a companion bold made for Caslon, and in general, at ATF as well as at Linotype, that was a characteristic of Caslon Bold. It could be that Caslon No. 4 was a demibold for Caslon.
  • Thanks for your thoughts. 

    So, I have a question, then. If Caslon 3 is the bold style, and 4 was likely the demibold, then what counts as the Regular style in their lineup? Was it Caslon 540? 
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,068
    Caslon 540 is a regular style. As I'm sure you know, it has short descenders, and, thus, while it isn't 'New Caslon' or 'Recut Caslon', it was still adapted for modern use. I think Caslon 137 is the more authentic Caslon Old Face.
  • I don't know that one, I'm afraid. I know/have Caslon 437 and 637, but not the series number you mentioned. Unless that's just another name for Caslon Old Face. 

    I'm thinking I should start a thread about extinct masterpieces that didn't make it to digitization. Today alone I learned about a bunch of them. 
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,068
    Pages 113-120 of the "big red" book of Linotype faces feature Caslon 137; it is distinguished from Caslon Old Face as being larger on the page, so I suppose its descenders are shorter.

  • Thank you for this. It's invaluable!
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,068
    edited June 2020
    As for the type in which the first page of that document is set, I submit for your consideration Recut Caslon, from the 1923 ATF Catalog:

    The second lowercase f in the specimen of the complete font... at least looks similar, although I admit I'm not sure that it is an exact match.
    But an uppercase J which does not descend below the line, lining figures, short descenders, and a lowercase g with a squashed lower bowl are all there; if it isn't the face in which that was set, at least it is very similar.
    Come to think of it, though, aside from the f not being quite right, Recut Caslon has a greater x-height than that of the first page in the document - its ascenders are noticeably higher, similar to those of a Caslon Old Face.
  • It's an odd creature, to be sure. The smushed eye on the lowercase G reminds me of a crude De Vinne or Lateinisch/Roemische Antiqua. Yet, when I look at it next to the short-beak lowercase F, together they look like a fait shadow of Century Old Style. The short uppercase J goes well with the short, stubby descenders of the lowercase; and yet they look delightfully weird next to the long ascenders. A strange face, no doubt. Anyway, I still like it. It's got the Caslon DNA that redeems it from a great many flaws. 

    It's very unlike Caslon Old Face in that the latter has a beautifully sloped lowercase F, which it inherited from a late-Baroque ancestor progenitor. Mr Blokland captured that very well with DTL Fell. The better Caslons have it too. 
  • Maybe this is the Caslon that inspired Ed Benguiat's pricked-up ear on the lowercase G in his Caslon 224? 
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,068
    edited June 2020
    One possibility, since I have relatively good resources for ATF and Linotype available to me, is that this one is an Intertype face - something for which I have fewer resources. Just as Linotype copied ATF's Caslons, Intertype was doing that too, but with their own changes. However, since this was from a book of which 100 copies were printed, using anything but foundry type would seem not to make sense - Linotype is for really huge print runs, or so I thought.
    But come to think of it, they used Linotype for print runs of one - to make stereotype plates, or proofs that became offset masters. Typing a document on a Linotype keyboard is easier than setting type by hand - but if it's the length of the document that matters, since this was only one page, foundry type would win again. I suppose I could double-check Lanston Monotype, given that sometimes Monotype output, with a modified alloy, sometimes served as a cheaper form of foundry type (I'm almost surprised, given contemporary standards on the issue, that practice didn't violate the license for the matrices or something).
    The old Lanston Monotype catalogue of which a digital form is available to me only gives three Caslons, 37, 137, and 337. 337 is what they bill as Caslon Old Face, although it doesn't seem as authentic as ATF's Caslon Old Face.
    Here's a specimen of 137:
    Although the J goes below the line, this has both a small x-height and short descenders; it seems to at least resemble the specimen in question. Popping in the matrix for J from another typeface is at least possible...
    On the other hand, I now notice the capitals are, in the page from the book of Bible leaves, and not in this specimen, a bit heavy compared to the lower-case. That was a distinctive characteristic of one of the modernized Caslons, I had turned up in my reading...
    After re-visiting Luc Devroye's page, I'm now starting to think that this is plain old Caslon 540, despite the J.
  • Buried deep in the Big Red book, I found this, better sample. Caslon 4 seems to have been a semibold/display companion to 540. 

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