PERPETUA Perpetua is a typeface that was designed by British sculptor, typeface designer, stonecutter and printmaker Eric Gill (1882–1940). Eric Gill designed Perpetua in the early part of the 20th century, basing it on the designs of old engravings. The formal impression which this font lends to any text is due in part to its small, diagonal serifs and its medieval numbers. Though not designed in the historical period of transitional type (the hallmark of transitional type was John Baskerville’s type designed in the last half of the 18th century), Perpetua can be classified with transitional typefaces because of characteristics such as high stroke contrast and bracketed serifs. Along with these characteristics, Perpetua bears the distinct personality of Eric Gill’s letterforms. Perpetua Roman, Felicity and Perpetua Italic Gill began work on Perpetua in 1925 at the request of Stanley Morison, typographical advisor to Monotype. Morison sought Gill’s talent to design a new typeface for the foundry. By 1929, Perpetua Roman was issued as Monotype Series 239. Gill designed two companion faces for Perpetua. The first was a typeface called Felicity. That design was met with mixed reactions. A second italic, called Perpetua Italic, was drawn by Gill and subsequently issued by Monotype along with Perpetua Roman.Telltale distinctions of the unused Felicity (as seen in the illustration in Harling, page 51) include the absence of a serif at the baseline of the lowercase d and a straight tail on the lowercase y. Overall, Felicity is less sloped than Perpetua Italic. Aptly named, Perpetua was set in a limited edition of a new translation by Walter H. Shewring of The Passion of Perpetua and Felicity. The book was printed in 1929. The same type and illustrations (also done by Gill) for that book subsequently appeared in the Fleuron (number 7) which was edited by Stanley Morision and printed in 1930. Also set in Perpetua and published in 1929 was Art Nonsense and Other Essays written and illustrated by Eric Gill. (Saints Perpetua and Felicity apparently suffered martyrdom in the persecution of Septimus Severus at Carthage in North Africa in 203.
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