|Thomas Cobden-Sanderson and Emery Walker|
What inspired this unusual crime? Cobden-Sanderson wanted to keep the type from Emery Walker, his former friend and business partner, with whom he had fallen out. The reason behind his action was partly his passion for his craft. he did not like the thought of the type one day being used in books other than those he had so carefully printed. But it was also a loathing of the technological change that had transformed the world during his lifetime. He hated mechanical industry, and only by throwing the type in the river, he wrote in his diary, could he be sure it would not be used in “a press pulled otherwise than by the hand and arm of man”.
For three years Robert Green has been crafting a digital reproduction of the famous face—the first fully usable Doves font since the original metal pieces sank to the bottom of the Thames. The new version of Doves can be seen at Typespec.co.uk
Over the years, intrepid fans have occasionally tried to recover pieces of the type from the river, but no one has ever found any, so while redrawing the contemporary version of Doves, Robert Green borrowed Doves books as a reference. His painstaking process was similar to the technique Cobden-Sanderson and Walker used to create the Doves type, itself. Doves owes most to the style of Nicholas Jenson, a Venetian printer from the 15th century. Robert Green has added to the original font which had only approximately 100 characters. Today his digital version has 350.