One of the most interesting and often overlooked sources of art in the early part of the late 19th and early 20th century is sheet music. In this period, if you wanted music you often had to perform it yourself, so music publishing was big business. Just as with albums of recorded music in later periods, great art was a vital part of the package.
Many of the leading artists of the time picked up some easy cash illustrating sheet music. The format usually required a cover illustration and an interior illustration and sometimes some custom lettering. One great example of this is Charles Folkard’s illustration of Walter Carroll’s composition “Water Sprites.” The watercolor cover and black and white interior illustration are great, but the real gem of this piece, which we will be using for a future font design is the hand lettering, including the main title which is in a style similar to our Folkard font, but especially the lesser captions which are in a new Folkard lettering style which will make a great additional to our collection.