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Bruce Rogers, Frederic Warde
Release Year
Country of Origin
United States
Serif, Old Style
Original Format
Metal (Foundry)
Fonts.com, Adobe


The Centaur is based closely on the Jenson letter in the Eusebius of 1470, but with considerable freedom in the redrawing. The undertaking was sponsored, with some proprietary rights, by Henry Watson Kent, then secretary of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, where he had established an excellent press in the museum basement for announcements, posters, labels, etc. The type’s first book appearance was in Maurice de Guérin’s The Centaur which gave the type its name and which has become one of the most sought-after of the B.R. books. Hand-set by Mrs. Rogers, it was printed in an edition of 135 copies [in 1915] at Carl P. Rollins’ lively and idealistic Montague Press at the Dyke Mill in Massachusetts.”

The upper-case letters were first used in 1914 by the museum. The complete font was cast for its first use in 1915 in 14 point and was set by hand. It was later issued in several other sizes. At the request of fine printers, Rogers agreed to make the type available in a Monotype version for that company’s typesetting machines. The new fonts were first used in 1929. Centaur was roman only, but at Rogers’s request, the Monotype version added an italic based on drawings by Frederic Warde. Warde’s italic is an interpretation of the work of the sixteenth-century printer and calligrapher Ludovico degli Arrighi and is called Arrighi. In 1948, Rogers wrote and printed a book about Centaur and Arrighi; a reprint of Centaur Types is available from Purdue University Press.

Blumenthal writes about Centaur in his 1977 book: “Centaur is a beautiful type, delicate and subtle, which was made available on Monotype composition. It has never been widely popular in the trade, but has been used with elegant effect by sensitive typographic designers.”

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Last edited by Bronwyn on August 27, 2009, 09:06pm EST

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