Jenson, Nicolas

, or Jansonius, a celebrated printer and letter-founder of Venice, but by birth a Frenchman, flourished in the fifteenth century. He is said to have been originally an engraver of coins and medals at Paris. About 1453 the report of the invention of printing at Mentz being circulated, he was sent by the king, Charles VII. to gain private information on the subject of that art. He fulfilled the object of his mission, but, on his return to France, finding that the king was dead, or perhaps having heard of his death, he removed to Venice. Such is the purport of an account in two old French manuscripts on the coinage, except that one places the mission of Jenson under Louis XL which is less probable. Jenson excelled in all branches | of the art, and more than are now united with it. He formed the punches, he cast the letters, and conducted the typography. He first determined the form and proportion of the present Roman character: and his editions are still sought on account of the neatness and beauty of his types. The first book that issued from his press is a scarce work in quarto, entitled “Decor Puellarum,” the date of which is 1471; and in the same year he published in Italian “Gloria Mulierum,” a proper sequel to the former. After these are found many editions of Latin classics and other books, for ten years subsequent; but, as no books from his press appear after 1481, it is conjectured that he died about that time. 1

1 Dict. Hist. Maittaire’s Annalg. —Saxii Onomasticon.