Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Graven images

Jeff Leak again spoke about type in the environment at the School of Art and Design CADRE Research Conference.

His talk, Graven Images, presented a study of the graphic iconography and statuary of the cemetery with particular reference to the diversity of typographic embellishment in Budapest’s Kerepesi Cemetery. The imagery that he showed formed a small part of his visual record of lettering from cemeteries around the world – recording their lettering, texture; their relevance to a point in time, their decoration, their ornamentation and statuary.

Some of our greatest typographers have begun their understanding of type by having to carve it into stone.

Eric Gill (buried in Speen Baptist Churchyard) has created his own stone  upon which he states his life’s work to have been stone carver.

John Baskerville, master printer and creator of the eponymous typeface, first made his fortune as a headstone engraver. Today his body lies in Warstone Lane Cemetery, Hockley

Research and contextualisation about carved letterforms and funereal iconography revealed a surprising amount of published reference. Reading around a lot of this work – it more often than not focused on the description, content or context rather than the graphic characteristics of the sepulchers - but it was this particular area that Jeff illustrated and spoke about.

He concluded by showing how this interest had inspired the creation of a number of published designs, some of which are shown below.


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