Francesco Colonna – Hypnerotomachia Poliphili

Book coverFrancesco Colonna – Hypnerotomachia Poliphili

The Hypnerotomachia Poliphili first appeared in print in 1499. It was not long before it acquired a reputation as a masterpiece, thanks in part to its balanced typography combined with superb woodcuts. Specially for this edition of the dream allegory, master printer Aldus Manutius had a new typeface cut, one of the first true ‘old face’ types.


In 1923 this typeface was taken up by Stanley Morison for the Monotype Corporation, enabling the publisher of De Droom van Poliphilus to emulate the original work down to the smallest detail. Not an average job for a publisher trying to earn a living. Within the margins of restrained book design the designer has succeeded in making her mark with some nicely poised typography on the cover of both the Hypnerotomachia and the separate volume of commentary. The brilliant colour combinations in cloth, endpapers and dust jackets reinforce the cohesion of the two differently-sized books. In short, a classic example of the best design.

Edition: 2006
Language: Dutch, translated by Ike Cialona
Publisher: Athenaeum-Polak & Van Gennep, Amsterdam
Graphic designer: Anneke Germers; part 1 based on the 1499 edition
Lithographer: Teus de Jong, Nij Beets (typesetting), in collaboration with Henk Pel and Printing Partners Grafimedia, Amstelveen
Printer: Offizin Andersen Nexö, Leipzig (D)
Binder: Leipziger Großbuchbinderei, Zwenkau (D)
Size book block (w x h x d in mm): 200 x 300 x 47 (1), 125 x 205 x 24 (2)
Number of pages: 4 + 466 + 9 p. (1), 247 p. (2)
Print run: 150
Price: € 295
ISBN: 978 90 253 0669 4
Font and foundry: Poliphilus
Binding style: sewn hardbacks
Material: 125gsm Zerkall Büttenpapier (interiors, endpapers and dust jackets), Imperial linen 4600 (bindings and slip case)