Dutch Type Library since 1990

Try dtl’s New Exquisite Website


Contrary to what their names might suggest, the English Roman and English Italick, which served as the model for dtl Fell, are not of English manufacture. These are originally Dutch type models dating from the seventeenth century. John Fell (1625–1686), who was Bishop of Oxford from 1675 until his death, purchased the material and donated it to Oxford University Printing. In this context, ‘English’ is the indication for a body size that is comparable to 12 didot points.

Matrices of the ‘English Italick’ of the Fell types

The matrices of the English Italick    

Title page of the Fell type specimen from 1695

In The Roman, Italic & Black Letter Bequeathed to the University of Oxford by Dr. John Fell (Oxford, 1951) Stanley Morison reports that the English Roman may have been cut by Christoffel van Dijck (ca.1606–1669). In support of this assumption, Morison writes that the Double Pica Roman is identical to a model that can be seen on the type specimen that the widow Van Dijck published around 1673. However, Morison does not mention which type that is. In any case, it is certain that Fell’s agent in the Netherlands, Thomas Marshall, purchased matrices for a brevier and a descendiaen from Van Dijk’s son Abraham around 1670. This does not necessarily mean that the punches were cut by Van Dijck; after all, Abraham van Dijck also sold material from other punchcutters.

DTL Fell Book weight: roman and italic

Title page of the 1695 specimen

Various editions of the Fell type specimens are known from the years 1693, 1695, and 1706. The only independent, i.e., not bound with other printed matter, specimen in the Bodleian Library’s possession is from 1695. It has a parchment cover. The specimens measure approximately 19.5 by 11.5 centimeters and are no more than half a centimeter thick. The sheets are printed on one side with a big dent in the paper. The quality of the printing varies and is often mediocre.
        The Fell types remained in use in Oxford until the end of the nineteenth century. A number of twentieth-century publications on the Fell types are also set with lead originals. The quality of these editions often exceeds that of the seventeenth and eighteenth century prints.

English Romand and Italck from the Fell types

Semi-bold and bold variants have been added to the digital version

DTL Fell Medium Italic

The English Roman and Italick

Pencil drawing with ikarus markings for dtl Fell

Pencil drawing with IKARUS markings for DTL Fell

Search | Site index | Contact | Terms of use | Trademarks | Acknowledgements

Last update: 4 November 2023. Copyright © Dutch Type Library, 1998–2023. All rights reserved

dtl Headquarters | Zwaenenstede 49 | 5221 kc ’s-Hertogenbosch | The Netherlands
dtl Studio | Daliënwaerd 71 | 5221 ke ’s-Hertogenbosch | The Netherlands
phone: +31 (0)73 614 95 36 | fax: +31 (0)73 613 98 23 | e-mail: info@dutchtypelibrary.com