The article focuses on the typefaces used in the Landfras printing works in Jindřichův Hradec throughout the 19th century. The production of this printing works reflected the transformation of the printing craft workshop into an industrial enterprise. In the history of the development of the typeface, the 19th century is the most interesting period. At its beginning, the transformation of the dynamic Renaissance Antiqua into the rational Classicist Antiqua was completed. In the next years, typographic font was used not only for education but more and more for advertisements. Roughly from the middle of the century, a period of historicism appeared in typography as well, involving virtually an eruption of all kinds of decorative letter shapes and ornaments. At the end of the 19th century, a new artistic style, Art Nouveau, emerged. This was the end of one epoch and the beginning of another in the history of this printing works. Concerning the typography of the 19th century, one can say that it is so ugly that it is beautiful. The same applies to the typefaces of the time. The interest in these highly emotional typefaces was revived again in the 1960s, when it led to the creation of a number of interesting products in the areas of book typography, cultural posters and record sleeves.
The aim of the article is to outline the activities of the Czech journalist, publisher and important representative of Czech national-economic thought in the 19th century, František Šimáček. Particular attention is focused on the operation of Šimáček’s business. Through his own company, Šimáček implemented his national-economic ideas as the essence of Czech national emancipation. In his publishing programme, he emphasised the quality of the books prepared for publication (with abundant illustrations and decorative publisher’s binding) in order to gain recognition for Czech books even in the highest social classes. As an employer and journalist, he acted as a classical liberal influenced by the pioneering ideas of Vojta Náprstek, whom he often met privately as well. He became a remarkable figure of Czech national life not only in Prague. He deliberately supported it through the distribution of the printed word, both as a radical journalist, which brought him police execution and large financial losses, and as a publisher or the owner of the printing works that offered not only the production of the publishing house but also a wide range of printed materials especially for Czech savings banks.
The activities of the Landfras printing works and the associated publishing house are an important part of the history of book culture in the Czech lands in the 19th century and form a significant chapter in the history of book printing and publishing in this period. The focus of the production of the printing works and the publishing house reflected the new needs of literate broad social classes in the 19th century, showing increased interest in the printed word. The company used the modern methods and technologies available, which reduced the price of the final book or other printed materials. For publication, it selected titles whose sales were guaranteed or at least expected. The result was the repeated printing of a number of titles of religious, educational and entertainment literature, which had already been popular in previous centuries, and the development of contemporary titles for the general public from both urban and rural areas. For centuries, great popularity was mainly enjoyed by the titles of religious folk literature (Himmelschlüssel prayer books by the theologian Martin von Cochem and other prayer and devotional books), in which Baroque Catholic piety was reflected until the late 19th century. To the original Himmelschlüssel and other traditional titles, the printing works added titles of its regular authors and their translations of contemporary prayer and religious literature. It complemented the titles of secular entertainment literature (reprints of original works, e.g. Kronika o Štilfridovi [The Chronicle of Štilfríd] or Kronika sedmi mudrců [The Chronicle of the Seven Wise Men]) with translations and original works by Jan Hýbl and Václav Rodomil Kramerius, and it also printed moralising stories by local priests. Educational literature, such as guides for homesteaders, cooks and the like sold also well. A separate activity section comprises the publication and printing of textbooks mostly for local schools. Until the end of the 19th century, they were abundantly complemented by printed broadsides, affordable to every household. A significant chapter of the 19th century was the development of periodicals, which was mirrored in the second half of that century also in newly emerging regional titles, especially in the weekly Ohlas od Nežárky [Echoes from the River Nežárka], which began to be published in 1871.
The article studies the set of 27 original letters deposited in the Documentation Collection – Cultural-Historical Archives of the State District Archives of Jindřichův Hradec. This collection contains documents of non-official provenance concerning, among other topics, also remarkable figures of the town. A leading position among them is assumed by the Landfras family, whose members were not only owners of a prosperous printing works, but also patriots, leaders of the town, and supporters of education, societies and culture. The letters provide an insight into the private lives of the members of the Landfras family, in particular its most significant member, Alois Landfras, and people connected with the family. The article deals with an overall comparison of the letters. It studies references to them and to events in their family, and connections with their life in Jindřichův Hradec. It adds some less known information on the studies of Alois Landfras at the university in Prague, providing an insight into his inner world. The article is complemented by a synoptic table of all letters, including the quoted persons and places.
Interest in the art of lithography in Moravia already began to appear in the early 19th century. The first lithographic workshops in Moravia were established as late as in 1824, when one was founded by Johann Baptista and Adolph Trassler as well as Johann Gastl at their printing works in Brno. Both the Trasslers and Gastl considered it to be an opportunity to expand the offer of their printing works and primarily became specialised in the printing of ephemera. Their lithographic production was thus tied to commercial art and book and magazine production rather than to independent artistic production.
The beginning of the article briefly outlines the history of Jindřichův Hradec from its foundation through its development in the 15th century and especially in the 16th century, until the 19th century, when the Landfras printing works functioned in the town. Afterwards, the article focuses on the Landfras family of printers and its work in Jindřichův Hradec. It deals with the founder of the printing works, Josef Jan Landfras (1869–1840), as well as with his family background and his public activities. Most attention is devoted to his successor, Alois Landfras (1797–1875), who became one of the most remarkable figures in the history of Jindřichův Hradec, because he was very actively involved in social events in the town. From 1841, he was a member of the town council; ten years later, he was elected mayor and remained in the position for ten years. His private and family life is marginally mentioned as well. The last member of the family active in the 19th century was Vilém Antonín Landfras (1830–1902), who was also a member of the town council. Thanks to him, the weekly Ohlas od Nežárky [Echoes from the River Nežárka] began to be published in the town in 1871. The article further mentions his important role in the organisation of the social entertainment of burghers and his family life. The end of the paper is devoted to his son, Vilém Bohumil Landfras (1865–1931), whose work falls into the first third of the 20th century.
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