The writer Lommen succinctly stated the importance of Sjoerd H. de Roos (1877-1962) when he said that De Roos had set up two milestones in the history of Dutch typography: he made the first modern book, in 1903 (William Morris's Kunst en maatschappij, published by A.B. Soep) and the first modern letter, in 1912 (the Hollandsche Mediaeval). This letter was first used in a publication of the Rotterdam publishing house W.L. & J. Brusse, whose virtually complete stock has been held by the Koninklijke Bibliotheek since 1969. The long-standing and productive collaboration between designer and publisher can be clearly traced in this collection, and the designs for the bindings are especially noteworthy. In 1915 De Roos started designing a series of beautiful bindings for the translations from the classics by the poet P.C. Boutens: rigid geometric patterns, consisting of double lines and sober lettering. His supreme achievement in this genre is the binding for De tors by Adama van Scheltema. His ‘T’ rising up like a torso within a framework of eight double lines is a stroke of genius, imitated in different forms in later times, but never equalled.
A remarkable coincidence is the fact that the first book for which De Roos designed a tool, and whose text block he had also adapted to his own ideas, was by Adama van Scheltema as well: Uit den dool (Amsterdam, J.A. Fortuyn, 1901). It had been taken over by Brusse in 1906 from the publisher S.L. van Looy, a takeover that fulfilled Brusse's ambitions to have all Adama van Scheltema's work on his list. His Van zon en zomer *(1902), *Eenzame liedjes (1906), and Zwervers verzen (1906), to name only the best known of his works, were reprinted many times. Such success was not to come to De tors, of which a first and second edition, totalling 5,000 copies, were published straightaway.
De Tors.In zeven zangen / C.S. Adama van Scheltema. Met acht tekeningen van S.A. Rijkmans Kaijser. Rotterdam, W.L. & J. Brusse's Uitgeversmaatschappij, 1924. Typographical and binding design by S.H. de Roos. Brusse A 490