36 Days of Type - Clarendon


About Clarendon

Clarendon is a slab-serif typeface that was created by Robert Besley for Thorowgood and Co. (or Thorowgood and Besley) of London, a letter foundry often known as the Fann Street Foundry. It was apparently named after the Clarendon Press in Oxford.

The typeface was published in 1845 after Besley, an employee of the foundry since 1826, was made a partner in the firm. Due to its popularity, Besley registered the typeface under Britain's Ornamental Designs Act of 1842. The patent expired three years later, and other foundries were quick to copy it. Besley was nonetheless successful in business, and became the Lord Mayor of London in 1869. Clarendon is considered the first registered typeface.

Clarendon types proved extremely popular in many parts of the world, in particular for display applications such as posters printed with wood type. They are therefore commonly associated with wanted posters of the American Old West.

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