Theatrical Exhibition. An Evening Brush to Sweep Away Dull Care. Pennsylvania?, ca. 1828 . Relief print.
The first quarter of the 19th century saw the development of the first typefaces created specifically for large display. By definition, display type would be rendered unreadable if reduced to the size of text type. Designed to be eye-catching, it worked exceedingly well on the large broadsides that were becoming more prevalent on the city streets. This early theatrical broadside is distinct both for its several display types and for its two circus illustrations. The printer seems to have been experimenting with the many new type options, including shadowed (ca. 1819, see ‘Comic Song’), and the much-maligned Italian (ca. 1821, see ‘SINGING’), referred to as a “typographic monstrosity” by a contemporary critic.