Remnants of a Legendary Typeface Rescued From the River Thames

A little over a century ago, the printer T.J. Cobden-Sanderson took it upon himself to surreptitiously dump every piece of this carefully honed metal letterpress type into the river. It was an act of retribution against his business partner, Emery Walker, whom he believed was attempting to swindle him.

With its extra-wide capital letters, diamond shaped punctuation and unique off-kilter dots on the letter “i,” Doves Type became the press’s hallmark, surpassing fussier typographic attempts by their friend and sometime collaborator, William Morris.


The letterforms only existed as a unique 16pt edition, meaning that when Cobden-Sanderson decided to “bequeath” every single piece of molded lead to the Thames, he effectively destroyed any prospect of the typeface ever being printed again. That might well have been the case, were it not for several individuals and a particularly tenacious graphic designer. —

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