Robert Besley

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Robert Besley (1794–1876) was an English typographer, creator of Clarendon (typeface) in 1845 and the Lord Mayor of London in 1869.


Besley became a partner in the Fann Street Foundry in 1838, having been employed there since 1826 [1]. The Fann Street Foundry, in Fann Street, City of London, was also home of typographer William Thorowgood, the first to use the term "Grotesque" to describe a Sans-Serif typeface and the first to design one in lower case with his Seven Line Grotesque.[2][3]

When Besley created Clarendon he had it patented, as England just passed a bill allowing that. The typeface became so popular, though, that the copyright was soon broken by people creating knock-offs. Still known as the first Registered typeface. [4]

He then went on to become Sheriff of the City of London in 1863 and the Lord Mayor of London in 1869.


  1. ^ A History of the Old English Letter Foundries, Talbot Baines Reed, 1887
  2. ^ The First Sans Serif Graphic Design History, 2011. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  3. ^ Alexander Lawson's Anatomy of a Typeface on Google Books
  4. ^ Article Archived 2008-08-23 at the Wayback Machine. on, Fontlove section, by David Ng. Citing a thesis essay from Mitja Miklavcic, 2006.[dead link]

External links[edit]

Civic offices
Preceded by
Sir James Lawrence, Bt
Lord Mayor of London
1869 – 1870
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Dakin