Hendrik D.L. Vervliet, Granjon in Antwerp: 1564–1570

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Granjon in Antwerp: 1564–1570

Hendrik D.L. Vervliet  in De Gulden Passer, vol. 95 (2017), nr. 2, pp. 195–229


Robert Granjon (1513–1590) was a contemporary of Claude Garamont, and with him, one of the foremost type-cutters of the 16th century. While Garamont was famous for the ‘Grecs du Roy’ and for his late Romans, Granjon was acclaimed for his Italics, fleurons and Civilités, a family of script types based on the gothic cursive hand. As Europe’s leading type-designer in the second half of the 16th century, he provided type founts to the main printing houses of Europe, such as De Tournes in Lyons, Plantin in Antwerp, and the Typographia Apostolica Vaticana in Rome.

Granjon stayed in Antwerp from 1564 to 1570, cutting punches and striking matrices for printers such as Plantin, Silvius, and Tavernier. Apparently he did not operate a typefoundry. His stay in Antwerp is extensively documented mainly by items in the Plantin archives. The archives hold approximately one archival document from each week of that period, and these provide us with insight into the daily life of a 16th-century type-cutter, indeed a more detailed insight than normally possible of the life of a professional in a craft that was considered secretive.