Charles Nypels, La Prophétie de Ioel

When Charles Nypels (1895-1952) printed this slender volume he had already seven bibliophile editions to his name, all printed, like this one, by his father's firm, the Leiter-Nypels company. Growing up in a printer's family he had been familiar with typographical matters at an early age. It was intended that he would succeed his father. To complete his training he did practical work with the Lettergieterij Amsterdam in 1917, supervised by the type designer Sjoerd H. de Roos. After his return to Maastricht the printing press proved only marginally interesting to him: ‘headache-producing machines’, irritating telephone calls, and conjurers with figures as colleagues, put a damper on his energy. No wonder that he tried to make other contacts outside the world of printing. In his room on Vrijthof he entertained painters and writers from the province of Limburg such as Henri Jonas, Charles Eyck, Pierre and Mathias Kemp and F. Lousberg. Another regular visitor was his future colleague-printer A.A.M. Stols, five years younger than Nypels, and still a student at the time.

His aversion to the ordinary printing routine was probably the impetus for Nypels to turn to bibliophile printing in 1920. His earliest work already contained indications of his later approach to design, of which the most striking feature was its rejection of one fixed style. As he himself expressed it in a letter, ‘My sole aim is, to put it succinctly: to use, practise and perfect the unbelievably rich potential of typography. There is nothing I hate more than the ‘neat’ bibliophile edition...''. In that respect *La Prophétie de Ioel *is characteristic of his oeuvre. Its unconventional design, unusual colours - like the purple and green reproduced on the opposite page - and striking initials make it a true Nypels product. This copy is part of the collection of books donated by Henriette Roland Holst-van der Schalk to the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in 1939. Both she and her husband, the artist and designer R.N. Roland Holst, were greatly involved in Dutch cultural life and in touch with many writers and printers. They consequently acquired quite a number of bibliophile editions, which thus came to enrich the collections of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in 1939.

La Prophétie de Ioel [Maastricht, C. Nypels], 1923. [20] pp., 29 x 22.5 cm. Printed by Charles Nypels on the Leiter-Nypels presses. Initials and woodcut by Henri Charles Jonas. Typeface: Plantijn. Edition of 200 copies on Hollands van Haesbeek de luxe. 22

La Prophétie de Ioel [Maastricht, C. Nypels], 1923. [20] pp., 29 x 22.5 cm. Printed by Charles Nypels on the Leiter-Nypels presses. Initials and woodcut by Henri Charles Jonas. Typeface: Plantijn. Edition of 200 copies on Hollands van Haesbeek de luxe. 22 A 20, p. [9]

Literature

C. van Dijk, 'Alexander A.M. Stols over zichzelf', in: Boeken verzamelen. Opstellen aangeboden aan Mr. J.R. de Groot. Leiden 1983, p. 116-126
Charles Nypels. Meesterdrukker. Maastricht 1986.