The Doves Type was commissioned by Thomas Cobden-Sanderson as a
bespoke typeface for the Doves Press, the London printing company
he co-founded with Emery Walker in 1900. A modern take on a
Venetian serif, it took two years to create and was used in all of
the Press’s publications, including books of verse by Shakespeare
and Milton and the Doves Bible, which featured drop caps by Edward
After falling out with Walker, however — their partnership was
legally dissolved in 1909, after the business encountered
financial troubles - Cobden-Sanderson spent nine months tipping
2,600lb of it into the Thames in secret, ensuring that if he
couldn’t use it, nor could anyone else. Disguised by darkness, he
made around 170 trips to the Hammersmith Bridge to tip small
parcels into the water at night, the splashes concealed by
passing traffic, before announcing that it had been “bequeathed’
to the Thames.
A beautiful typeface, and an amazing story.