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Bastarda type in Fry's Pantographia

Bastarda (or bastard) was a blackletter script used in France, the Burgundian Netherlands and Germany during the 14th and 15th centuries. The Burgundian variant of script can be seen as the court script of the Dukes of Burgundy and was used to produce some of the most magnificent manuscripts of the 15th century.

The early printers produced regional versions in type which were used especially to print texts in the vernacular languages, more rarely for Latin texts. The earliest bastarda type was produced by the German Gutenberg in 1454–55. The main variety was the one used in France,[citation needed] which was also found in Geneva, Antwerp and London.[further explanation needed] Another local variety was found in the Netherlands; Caxton's first types were a rather poor copy of this.[citation needed] The French lettre bâtarde passed out of use by the mid-16th century, but the German variety developed into the national Fraktur type, which remained in use until the mid-twentieth century.[1]

British typeface designer Jonathan Barnbrook has designed a contemporary interpretation titled Bastard.


  1. ^ A.F. Johnson, Type designs, their history and development. Third edition. (London: 1966) pp. 21–23

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