Christoffel van Dijck
Although his career is poorly documented, he is believed to have been influential in the history of printing and typefounding in the Netherlands.
Van Dijck was born in Dexheim, now in Germany, to a Dutch Protestant family.
His father Gilbert Breberenus van den Dijck was a Calvinist minister, like his grandfather, uncle and his brother.
Christoffel was trained as a goldsmith, perhaps in Frankenthal, where Walloon and Flemish refugees (Calvinists) set up small manufacturies.
By 1640 he moved to Amsterdam as a journeyman.
How he began this career change is not documented; Lane speculates that he may have begun engraving types for other typefounders.
On 11 October 1642 he applied to marry Swaentje Harmens from Nordhorn, the widow of a former minister, giving his age as 36.
This was a more prestigious address (although the house was in poor condition) and close to the printing office of Joan Blaeu, who became a client.
In 1664, a year of plague, he bought two houses in Elandsstraat, a former inn, barn and garden and borrowed money from two ministers.
He died in November 1669 and was buried in the nearby Westerkerk.
Career and legacy
In or shortly before 1655 he drew out lettering for rooms in the Royal Palace of Amsterdam, then the city hall.
Van Dijck worked extensively for Armenian printers in Amsterdam.
On 27 November 1658 he contracted with the Armenian (Matheos van Tsar in Dutch) to make punches and matrices to print an Armenian bible, and continued to work on Armenian types for the rest of his life.
On his death, his foundry was taken over by his son Abraham (1645-1672), who was also a punchcutter.
Marshall wrote to Fell in April 1670 that "this last winter had sent van Dijck and [Bartholomeus] Voskens, the two best artists in this country, to their graves."
Abraham van Dijck suffered from poor health, documented in his and Marshall's correspondence, and died prematurely in February 1672.
The following April the foundry was auctioned, and bought by Daniel Elzevir.
In 1702 his son Manuel Athias sold his part in the foundry to the heir Cornelia Schipper.
From a surviving 1681 specimen, historian Paul Shaw explains that van Dijck's aesthetic style is "closer in color and spirit to 16th-century French types such as those by Garamont than to those of his contemporaries, which tend to be darker, narrower, and have a taller x-height (a combination often described by type historians as le goût Hollandois)."
His blackletter types are ornate, with many teardrop terminals, especially on the capitals, apparently following the lead of types cut by Nicolaes Briot.
Understanding of van Dijck's career has been limited by a lack of knowledge of what types he cut: as was common for pre-nineteenth century printing materials a large proportion of his punches and matrices were lost due to changing artistic tastes in favour of "modern face" typefaces, being destroyed from around 1808 by Enschedé at a time when it was also in financial difficulties, although some survive at Enschedé, and others in the collection of Oxford University Press.
An impressive but jumbled specimen was issued by the widow of Daniel Elzevir in 1681 offering what had been his foundry for sale, of which a single copy survives in the Plantin-Moretus Museum of Antwerp.
Fragments of an earlier specimen are also extant at Cambridge University Library.
Besides van Dijck's own types, his foundry apparently owned some older types: by the year after his death Abraham van Dijck owned matrices for a Greek type cut by Robert Granjon in Garmond size.
Marshall bought matrices for this type which survive at Oxford University Press, probably from Abraham van Dijck, or possibly another source in the Netherlands; if they did come from van Dijck his foundry was apparently able to replace them with another set of matrices, since the type is advertised on the 1681 specimen.
According to Marshall Amsterdam typefounders were able to buy earlier types from Frankfurt.
Several digital fonts based on van Dijck's work have been published, including DTL Elzevir (1992) by Dutch Type Library.
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christoffel van Dijck.