Tag Archives: Gravestones

Heptonstall churchyard again

This is a closer look in bad light, bit of a struggle to to make the characters more visible.  However, includes some ‘N’s and ‘y’s with nice flourishes – and a really nice ‘1792’  towards the end.

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Anatomy lesson – Heptonstall churchyard

Heptonstall churchyard – from another set of photos I’ve had hanging around for a while – lovely handcut letters on 18C (thereabouts) gravestones.  This is a tangent away from the typographic jigsaw puzzle exercise…  The characters are very simple structurally, with the strong shadows showing up the cutlines particularly around the serifs, and some lovely flowing numbers.  The cutlines intrigue me – they are the way in to looking at the anatomy.


Mostly the letter characters sit between a single baseline and topline (technical term?) with a mid-line proportionally in between.  Lower case ‘a’s and ‘g’s  are double storied which must have been quite hard to cut, and the ‘f’s are interesting too… details in next post.  The numbers are much more interesting with descending tails and curly flourishes.  As dates feature quite heavily on gravestones, there was a lot of scope here.  What I like about this exercise is getting in close enough to see how the characters are constructed, and noting the consistency, ie this is much more of a technical process than it looks when wandering about with a camera in sharp light.  I found drawing the letters and copying them into the notebook from the photos to be a useful exercise.  Also toyed with the idea of copying the ideas and creating a diy webfont, maybe…  Another interesting thing is how the style of lettering changed about 20 years later, much more uniform and looking machine made?  Just a different person’s style, better tools, different fashion, whatever.  And, when does lettering become typography?

copying characters

Anyway, last photo here is another tangent, just included for some scene setting texture… different day, different light. 

nice texture