Drop Caps Through the Ages

Google Books is a treasure-trove of books from the 19th century, and thus a good place to turn if you are, as I, setting metal type and trying to get a feel for spacing drop caps. Here are some examples I’ve found tonight showing some interesting variations.

Common to these is that (1) the second line is indented slighly, (2) the first word of the paragraph beyond the drop cap is set in small caps (or simply all in caps), (3) the drop cap itself has its cap height aligned with the cap height of the remainder of the first word and (4) there isn’t much regard for where the baseline of the drop cap falls:

The Printers’ Handbook of Trade Recipes, Hints & Suggestions Relating to Letterpress and Lithographic Printing, Bookbinding Stationery, Engraving, Etc

English Country Houses

The compositor’s handbook

Love: A Poetical Essay

The Ladies’ Companion to the Flower-garden