Thursday, 12 August 2004

Byrne's edition of Euclid's Elements

published in 1847 by William Pickering and printed by Chiswick Press. This press has been called by Ruari McLean, a well known author of books on printing and typography, the foremost name in Victorian book design and synonymous with good typography and printing throughout the [Victorian] period. Chiswick Press was operated by Charles Whittingham, nephew of its founder, and Pickering and Whittingham collaborated in a number of innovative publications around that time. Pickering was particularly known for elegant title pages.
McLean calls Byrne's book one of the oddest and most beautiful books of the century. It was one of a very small number of British books displayed at the Great Exhibition of 1851 (no surprise, perhaps, since Whittingham was on one of the Juries of the exhibition). McLean goes on to say The result is a decided complication of Euclid, but a triumph for Charles Whittingham. Whether or not Byrne's efforts complicate or simplify Euclid is an interesting and debatable point. Parts of Byrne's attempt to design `colour-coded' mathematical proofs are more successful than others, but it is our hope that even the less successful parts can serve as themes for discussion if not models for imitation.
via mefi

No comments: