was a Dutch type designer, book cover designer and artist.
De Roos was born in Drachten to a cobbler, but moved to Amsterdam at an early age. It was here that, between the ages of twelve and fourteen, he trained to be a lithographer. Later he studied at the Teekenschool voor Kunstambachten (The School of Drawing for the Arts and Crafts), part of the Rijksakademie. In his early years De Roos was inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement. An example of this can be found in his edition of Kunst en Maatschappij (Art and Society (1903). As a supporter of Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis, De Roos attempted to create the ideal of ‘Art to the People’. Between 1907 and 1947 he was employed by the Amsterdam Type foundry (known previously as N. Tetterode), where he further developed his lithographic skills. During this period he designed, a new type face, the Hollandsche Mediæval, the first Dutch made typeface for 150 years. In total De Roos designed twelve type faces, the most successful being the Hollandsche Mediæval, the Egmont, the Libra and theDe Roos Roman and Italic.
Archive material, as well as the Tetterode Collection both attributed to De Roos, are available at the Library of the University of Amsterdam. Further archives are available at the City Library of Haarlem, the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem and the Museum Smallingerland in Drachten."
– December 17 2013
So to research the typeface further I went to the Special Collections at the University of Amsterdam. The image material gathered at the collections can be seen here, various works by SH De Roos in this column. And on the right you will find images of one of his greatest achievement the typeface Hollandsche Mediæval. This typeface was widely used by printers i the Netherlands from 1912 until the second world war. It was said to be heavy to work with compared to other typefaces, lead being a cheap but heavy material. But with it's subtle thickness and gentle strokes it works in complete silence. It became a household typeface for printers, and has been praised for being a 'work horse'. Getting the job done.
Hollandsche Mediæval currently exists in three known-of digitizations. Hollandse CG by Arthur Baker as seen further down on this site. Dutch Mediæval by Hans van Maanen and Dutch Nine by Laurenz Brunner.
It's characteristics takes influence from the arts and craft movement in America and also the typefaces being produced at the time (1912) by the American Type founders company. It first appeared in a special New Years printed version of the Amsterdam Typefoundries magazine Typografische mededeelingen, which was a type specimen heavy bimonthly publication. This publication had a huge impact on typesetting, it became the go-to problem solver for printers for it's sample settings for different types.
In this way SH de Roos had a big influence on the typesetting in the Netherlands. His designs have a crafty workman spirit, with great passion for detail. I sense that he worked more lovingly with borders and ornaments than the actual glyphs. Releasing them separately with a huge announcements in Typografische mededeelingen, usually a couple of months after the respective typeface. He worked as a tin canister decorator before being employed by the N. Tetterode (later amsterdam Typefoundry).
SH De Roos left the foundry in 1941 to Dick Dooijes. De Roos is said to have issued a lot of design anonymously, since he himself not always being satisfied with the results and the initiative by the employer. – December 17 2013