The Typehead Chronicles: Perpetua
      Of Thomas Christensen, ABCedminded Typesetter  

homeward bound



Identifying Characteristics

  • calligraphic italic g looks something like a backwards, upside-down B
  • sharp, small, horizontal serifs
  • despite a general old face character, stress is vertical in O o
  • A has a flat top
  • a has an unusual tapered top
  • g has rather a long link
  • E arms almost equal
  • uncial U
  • f wide at top
  • r has calligraphic ear
  • q and p have calligraphic upstroke on descenders


Eric Gill, ca. 1928.

First used in the book The Passion of Perpetua and Felicity; therefore the roman was named Perpetua, and the italic was named Felicity.

The capitals are admired for display work.

At the Asian we used Perpetua as the text font in Bridge to Understanding, designed by Dana Levy of the aptly named Perpetua Press.

The font is also called Lapidary 333.

Character and Use

The type, based on Gill's inscriptional lettering, is intended to have a chiselled quality characteristic of engraving. A dignified, somewhat cold face with a feeling of authority.

In the italic, D, J, and R are cursive, others are "inclined momnumental characters" (Morison); nonetheless, the face as a whole has a happy and original harmony..

Say What?

"The design expresses a note of particularity and self-consciousness not universally acceptable. . . . Perpetua may be judged in the small sizes to have achieved the object of providing a distinguished form for a distinguished text; and, in the large sizes, a noble, monumental, appearance."
      -- Stanley Morison






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