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Dictionnaire de la mort by Robert Sabatier

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on Nov 19th, 2018. Artwork published in .
Dictionnaire de la mort by Robert Sabatier 1
Source: Uploaded to Flickr by Alexis Orloff and tagged with “lettresombréesornées”. License: All Rights Reserved.

The “Dictionary of Death” by French poet Robert Sabatier (1923–2012) was published by Éditions Albin Michel, Paris in 1967. The book has 540 pages and is enriched with illustrations by Christiane Sabatier.

The jacket design brings together capitals from four different typefaces, three of which were vintage already half a century ago. The names of author and publisher are in Auriol, created by Art Nouveau artist George Auriol around 1903 for Peignot & Fils. The font used for “Dictionnaire” is not of French origin, but has a French name. It’s Lafayette, designed in 1885 by Gustave F. Schroeder for Central Type Foundry. The series later was extended with wider styles named Washington, Jefferson, and Webster. Lafayette is digitally available as Gable Antique Condensed SG.

The shaded and floriated Egyptienne caps used for “Mort” are even older than Lafayette. They go back to a typeface from c. 1820 by the Paris-based foundry of Joseph Gillé. It reappeared in the 20th century at Deberny & Peignot as well as at Haas under the descriptive name Lettres Ornées. In comparison, Verdi was still fresh in 1967. It was first cast ten years earlier by the Bauer foundry. Stylistically, though, it likewise harks back to the 19th century: The open and shaded Fat Face by Konrad F. Bauer and Walter Baum is a reprise of early display faces like Thorne Shaded from 1810.

Dictionnaire de la mort by Robert Sabatier 2
Source: Antiquariaat Isis. License: All Rights Reserved.


  • Lafayette
  • Verdi
  • Lettres Ornées
  • Auriol




Artwork location

3 Comments on “Dictionnaire de la mort by Robert Sabatier”

  1. Alex, you must have missed the description above. The typeface is most likely Lafayette, a condensed predecessor to Webster (which we use for the sidebar sample). Gable Antique is a digital version of Lafayette and was not available when this jacket was published.

  2. To avoid confusion, Lafayette now has its own entry. Gable Antique is a digitization of Concordia, which was a Berthold face apparently based on but not identical to Lafayette.

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