THE OLD SCHOOL PRESS

A listing of all our out-of-print books

Use the 'history' button to the left for a complete list of titles.

Index to out-of-print titles

 
Venice Approached
Ruskin approaches Venice by gondola
The Bricks of Venice
A study of Venetian brickwork in words and watercolours by Peter Harris
The Fruits of Jane Austen
Extracts from her letters and novels, with wood engravings by Simon Brett
Twelve Poems
Verses by David Burnett with wood engravings by Sister Margaret Tournouer
view the book itself Venice Visited
Extracts from Coryat's Crudities with pochoir by John Thornton
Punting to Islip
A narrative poem by Eddie Flintoff, with wood-engravings and linocut by Simon Brett
 
Three Pieces
Three hitherto unpublished essays by Harry Carter
another picture from The Phoenix The Phoenix
A translation by Eddie Flintoff, from the Latin of Lactantius, with pochoir by Peter Allen
 
view an image from 'Henry James Sat Here' Henry James Sat Here
Reflections on Siena with poems by Anne Coon and images by Kurt Feuerherm
 
Oxford's Ornaments
A survey and display of the typographical ornaments at Oxford University Press
 
read about 'Winter Light' Winter Light
Hugh Buchanan on the country house as we never see it
Fedor Tiutchev
Poems by a reticent Russian poet, with engravings by Kirill Sokolov
read about 'The Daniel Press in Frome' The Colours of Rome
An exploration of the colours that characterise the Eternal City
Venice Approached
Ruskin's fine description of the journey from Padua to Venice by gondola.
       
 


Venice Approached

An extract from John Ruskin's The Stones of Venice

View the de luxe edition of Venice Approached

A printing of an extract from chapter 30 of book one and chapter 1 of book two of John Ruskin’s The Stones of Venice. Hand-set in 24pt Bembo italic, printed on Zerkall in a large landscape format, the paper folded on the fore-edge and all copies bound in the Japanese style. One illustration: the Venice waterline from the Dogana, printed from a line-block of a digitally processed photograph. 31pp.

Fifty copies. Copies I to XII were bound by Rachel James, with a black card protective wallet bearing the title on one edge and inside the first flap. Copies I to VI each covered with a different hand-blocked paper from Legatoria Piazzesi, Venice; the binding tape was red. Copies VII to XII were covered with paper specially hand-marbled in the Spanish style by Ann Muir, with a slate blue rippled background on which black, gold, and terracotta ‘globules’ float; the binding tape was black. Copies 13 to 50 were bound with soft covers of hand-made Wookey Hole Royal carrying the title pasted on, printed from the same type as that used for the title page; they were presented in a simple wrapper of black card, the title on the spine and again on the front cover. Ordinaries £19 (ISBN 0 9522335 5 X). Specials £44 (ISBN 0 9522335 0 9).



The Fruits of Jane Austen

Ten extracts from Jane Austen's letters  and novels with eight wood-engravings by Simon Brett

View the binding of The Fruits of Jane Austen

Hand-set in 14pt Caslon Old Style, printed on 200gsm Fabriano Artistico. Quarter bound by Rachel James in sky blue cloth with Claire Maziarczyk’s Sun Shower paste paper on the boards. 135 copies.  Bound copies £39. Sheets £10. (ISBN 0 9522335 1 7)
 



Twelve Poems

Twelve poems by David Burnett with wood-engravings by Sister Margaret Tournour

View the binding of Twelve Poems

The poems are set in 12pt Cancelleresca Bastarda. Each opening shows one poem with its wood-engraving and is effectively a half sheet of Saunders Waterford paper, giving a page size of 380mm by 280mm. All but fifteen copies of the edition of 135 were bound by Rachel James in full dark green cloth with end-papers of Canson Mi Teintes, the front cover carrying a label illustrated with one of Sister Margaret’s engravings. All copies were signed by both poet and artist. Fifteen sets of sheets (numbers 40-54) were reserved for binders together with end papers and necessary labels. Bound copies £36. Sets of sheets £18. (ISBN 0 9522335 4 1)
 



Venice Visited

Extracts from Coryat's Crudities with pochoir illustrations by John Thornton

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'A child could tell you that this is a beautiful book.'

 

Venice Visited was published in 1999 in an edition of 80 copies. The text of the short extracts from Thomas Coryat's Coryat's Crudities was printed in Stephenson Blake 22pt Caslon Old Face on dampened hand-made paper from the Sheepstor mill. The papers used for the binding were hand-blocked by Alberto Valese in Venice for the edition. John Thornton designed and executed the illustrations in pochoir. Rachel James bound the edition. £75. 32pp. (ISBN 1 899933 04 2)


Writing in The Times in April 2000, Bibliomane said:
'Venice Visited' stands out, confident and jolly . . . A child could tell you that this is a beautiful book.

Venice Visited was one of the books shown in the exhibition of Modern Private Press Books, Unregulated Printing, held at Cambridge University Library in 2006.



Punting to Islip

A narrative poem by Eddie Flintoff, with wood-engravings and linocut by Simon Brett

View the binding of the standard edition of Punting to Islip

'An evocative narrative poem sympathetically brought to the page; the pictorial title-page is a triumph'

The one thing I remember doing a lot of when up at Cambridge in the late 1960s was punting on the Cam. So Eddie Flintoff's new narrative poem Punting to Islip rang many emotional bells when I first received it from him via Simon Brett, and its poignancy for idyllic days matched mine. Eddie's poem really deserves to be read out loud, having as many sonic qualities as typographic, though I have followed Eddie's proposed layout, adding only a gentle curve to the flow of the river of text. There are many moods and changes of mood that a better typographer than I could have exploited on the page, to echo the changes of pace and tone that would come through in speech. Nevertheless, I think it all still works.

The title page has a linocut and wood engraving pair by Simon Brett picturing the scene as it might have looked to Eddie's eyes in the 1950s; the linocut is printed in a paler colour 'under' the wood engraving. The title page also has a calligraphic title. Click on the thumbnail above to see more. A further wood-engraving makes a fine tail-piece.

The edition consists of 150 copies and is signed by Simon Brett. The text is hand-set in 10pt Monotype Gill Sans and printed on dampened hand-made Japanese kawanaka ivory paper. The 120 copies of the standard edition are bound in a Japanese style: double sheets are folded on the fore-edge and sewn with ribbon between covers of blue hand-made Richard de Bas paper in a landscape format (about 190mm by 230mm). Pages of the poem face each other, verso and recto. The poem is 14pp long. Ordinaries are £33 (Euro60, US$63), specials £64. (ISBN 0 9522335 3 3)



The Phoenix

A translation by Eddie Flintoff, from the Latin of Lactantius, with pochoir by Peter Allen

View two of Peter Allen's pochoir images from The Phoenix

a picture from The Phoenix

another picture from The Phoenix

View a designer binding of The Phoenix by Lester Capon

designer binding of The Phoenix

view the book itself

'A very attractive book, printed with blocks made from Alun Briggs's original calligraphy and with vibrantly coloured hand-stencilled illustrations'

When he sent me the manuscript for Punting to Islip which I published in 1994, Eddie Flintoff enclosed his translation – the first for almost a century – of the poem De Ave Phoenice by Lactantius. The Phoenix is an early indicator of the kind of religious revolution that was going on in the time of Constantine, the very era that saw Christianity's ascent as a major world religion. Roman religious feeling was searching its way towards a philosophical reinterpretation of the old myths and legends, hoping to stabilise ancestral ways of thought that were looking increasingly threadbare, by reinterpreting them as moral allegories.

Lactantius was an early Christian theologian and professional rhetor, who attempted to align Christian symbolic teaching with aspects of the old culture, claiming that the church would be the inheritor of the best of classical culture. His claim that Christianity was the true heir of Roman civilised ideals must have seemed no more than bare-faced cheek in the fourth century when he was writing. He offers the symbol of the Phoenix and its mythical rebirth from the ashes of its own death as a symbol of Christ – and thereby as a symbol of the soul's rebirth into immortality.

 

The poem is vivid and colourful and provides a splendid opportunity to bring together a number of media – and contributors – in presenting Eddie's translation. Calligrapher Alun Briggs has written the text in a hand based on a mid fifth-century Italian manuscript, and it is from blocks made from his writing that the text has been printed. The poem demands coloured illustrations and Peter Allen has designed and pochoired five very striking three-colour full-page illustrations to accompany the text. Finally, to provide context to the poem, its subject matter, and its author, Dr John McGuckin, Reader in Patristic and Byzantine Theology at the University of Leeds, has provided a new introductory essay. The Press is following a long tradition: Aldus's heirs published a Lactantius edition including De Ave Phoenice in 1535, as did Claude Garamont in 1545.

The edition consists of 150 copies. 135 copies have been bound in full black cloth by The Fine Bindery, and a further fifteen sets of sheets were reserved for binders. The standard edition of the book is 213mm by 240mm on Zerkall mould-made paper. The introductory essay is printed in 12pt Monotype Perpetua italic, and supporting material in foundry Perpetua italic. 37pp. Ordinaries (ISBN 978 0 9522335 6 5) £63 (€110, US$110).

The twenty-five de luxe copies had a gilt top edge and end-papers of the beautiful Vega Blanc hand-made paper from the Larroque mill, a white paper with gold flecks; each de luxe copy also contained a portfolio of the pochoir illustrations signed by Peter Allen held in a folder of Vega Blanc, all contained in a slipcase. £96.


The Bricks of Venice

 

An important new text written and illustrated with watercolours by Peter Harris

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View two of the watercolours from the book

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WINNER of a Judges' Choice Award at the 2005 Oxford Fine Press Book Fair

'a beautiful production' . . . 'spectacular'
'a truly fabulous production'  . . . 'splendid'
'magnificent'

Our first book, Venice Approached, was an excerpt from John Ruskin's The Stones of Venice, in particular the passage where he describes arriving in Venice from Padua, taking a gondola from the Brenta. This new title is, in its author's words, 'no parody of Ruskin's masterpiece, but offered in homage.'

Peter Harris lived and worked in Venice for seven years, with enough leisure to study in depth the architecture of Venice and to read extensively about the city. The Bricks of Venice was years in writing and in research, and is a memorial to his great love of the city.

You can read a chapter from the book, pretty much in the format that it appears in the book, by clicking on the 'excerpt' button to the left.

The 96pp of text were printed in 14/16pt Bembo on a large page of Magnani mould-made paper. These pages were then bound into a volume with a hand-blocked paper on the boards - the paper was prepared especially for the edition by Alberto Valese in Venice, using a pattern taken from the facade of Ca' d'Oro, one of the finest Gothic palaces on the Grand Canal, and just along from the building in which Peter Harris and his wife lived. Each illustration was printed on a separate sheet of 225gsm Somerset paper made of 100% cotton , making it easier to follow the illustrations when they are called for in the text and also to frame and display them individually. To print the images I used an Epson 2100 printer using pigment-based inks thereby assuring good longevity of the images. The seventy-two sheets of images are separated by chapter with sheets of brown Fabriano Ingres on which captions are printed to accompany the images. These sheets are collected in a solander box which is covered in another paper from Alberto Valese - a repeated tile pattern in grey. The solander box and bound volume are presented in a slip case in a pale yellow cloth with a spine label. Click on the button above to see a number of views of the book and its parts. (33cm high, 23.5cm wide, 8.5cm deep - 13in high, 9.25in wide, 3.25in deep.)

Harris achieves a pleasing balance between contemporary observation and historical context, and sixty-six delightful watercolours and six other images fill out the story perfectly - you can view two of the watercolours by clicking on the thumbnail above (but please note that faithful colour reproduction on displays depends on too many factors outside my control!). He wrote the following about his book:

Scattered among the hidden corners of Venice, in private houses, on bell towers and under the eaves of churches, is a group of brick and tile designs dating back to the eleventh to fifteenth centuries. It needs the single-mindedness of a ferret to find many of them, hidden in the gloom of a narrow calle or secret courtyard. Ruskin knew and admired them; but even that indefatigable researcher did not find them all, and the breathtaking vision of The Stones of Venice is, naturally for the most part focused on Gothic stonework. It is surprising that here, in the most researched city in the world, such a treasury of medieval architecture could have been so ignored. The present book is the first to draw attention to the diversity and charm of this neglected side of Venice.

I have tried to keep my writing hand free from the cobwebs and dry brick dust that the title might lead one to expect, enlivening the text with many vignettes of personalities and life in medieval Venice. In addition, these little brick relics are part of the changing face of a living city that expresses its underlying economic and religious forces. To this end, many chapters are centred around mini-essays: brick making, the bricklayers, pavements, bell towers; but also the social hierarchy, a fashion in women's footwear, the mendicant friars, defence architecture, air pollution.

Publication may be timely. Apart from their intrinsic artistic and architectural interest, these unconsidered fragments are at danger from neglect, insensitive repair, even vandalism. Windows in the Campiello S Rocco that Ruskin described as 'amongst the most ancient efforts of Gothic art in Venice' have completely disappeared. Awareness of their value may help draw the attention of the charitable organisations such as Venice in Peril to the possibility of preserving a unique heritage at a relatively low cost.

Illustrations and text bear equal responsibilities, the two having been conceived together and fused from the beginning, text drawing the eye to relevant details and providing a background. The illustrations are designed both for accuracy and for aesthetic presentation. I have used a limited palette of earth colours to give cohesion and reinforce the sense of a work designed as a whole. Those water colours also bring out the character of brick better than photos can.

An exhibition of Harris's original watercolours was held at The Arts Club, London, and the book was published at the opening reception on 16 February 2005. There was another exhibition of the watercolours at the Palazzo delle Prigione in Venice, adjacent to the Bridge of Sighs, 10-28 January 2007. In January 2008 the book was centre stage at the Library of The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida, where Francesca Harris, Peter Harris's widow, gave a reading from the book - the display case below had some of the watercolours on show.

'Bricks of Venice' at Ringling

 (ISBN 978 1 899933 18 1)

The price of the book was £220 (E300, US$390).



Three Pieces

Three hitherto unpublished essays by Harry Carter

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a segment from one of Harry Carter's designs for a type border

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During their researches on Harry Carter's life and work, the authors of Harry Carter, Typographer came across about 150pp of typescript material that he had drafted towards a second volume of his history of Oxford University Press. Unfortunately, that volume was never to see the light of day, but we have taken the opportunity to publish two of the essays in that typescript. The first, Bradley’s Observations, describes what was (in Carter’s words) ‘the worst dereliction of duty in the history of the Press’ and is fascinatingly tied up with the £20,000 prize offered under the Longitude Act of 1714 for an accurate way of determining longitude. The second, Thomas Bensley as a Partner, is a tale of fraud and deception at the Press.

In August 1932, Carter sent an essay on the influence of John Baskerville on type design to Jan van Krimpen for inclusion in the first issue of a proposed successor to The Fleuron, but that also never came to fruition. Carter's essay on this most influential of English type designers - whose tercentenary is in 2006 - makes the third item in this volume of his work.

We originally published these three essays as an extra volume in the de luxe copies of Harry Carter, Typographer, but it was evident from the speed with which those sold out that there would be a demand for the essays on their own so we have run on a small edition.

The text is printed in 12D/15 Romulus on a hand-made Van Gelder paper. (I rescued this paper from the defunct print-shop of the Carthusian monastery at Parkminster in Sussex. The ream had a single worm-hole running through it and some copies have this hole as a feature on one or more pages, though mostly in the margin or gutter. I think it adds a touch of romance to the book.) Case-bound in green cloth with a label on the front-board. The title page carries a photograph of Carter. 28pp. There were eighty copies of which about fifty were for sale at £35 (E65, US$70). (ISBN 978 1 899933 20 4)



Henry James Sat Here

Reflections on Siena with poems by Anne Coon and images by Kurt Feuerherm

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'... extremely attractive'
'what a beautiful book!'

In April 2002, over a lunch of panini and Sienese ribollita soup, two long-time friends, Kurt Feuerherm and Anne Coon, were enjoying a chilly spring day in Siena, Italy. Siena’s Campo was filled with children, their parents, and the gathering tourists, when the conversation turned to the past and to the painters and writers who had once sat where Kurt and Anne were sitting. That conversation marked the beginning of a collaboration that led to Henry James Sat Here, a volume of poetry and mixed media artwork (watercolour, collage, and ink) blending Anne’s words and Kurt’s images. Some pairings evoke the moods and colours of the Tuscan landscape; others capture the faces and figures seen in the streets of Siena; still others suggest the abstractions of dream and memory, the troubled sleep of a person far from home.

As a Professor of Language and Literature in the College of Liberal Arts at Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, New York), Anne teaches Creative Writing, Italian Poetry, Modern Poetry, and Patterns in Poetry and Mathematics. The poems in Henry James Sat Here have been selected from a longer poem cycle, Via del Paradiso, in which Anne created an intimate record of the months she lived in Siena. Living alone and learning the language, she comes to know the city, its people, and its cultural past; at the same time, she begins to understand herself in a new way, as outsider, observer, and then participant in a world where she is 'always among others'.

During the 1990s, Kurt lived and taught in Florence, Italy, and travelled extensively throughout Tuscany, and his art focuses on the abstraction of nature-related subjects. Kurt’s artwork for this book – some pieces taken from sketchbooks he kept while living in Florence and others done while sitting at a cafe table or later in his studio – complements and illustrates the poems while also comprising a powerful, independent body of work.

I have printed nine poem-image pairs and I wanted to do something manageable in a small edition and in an interesting way. I have always been looking for ways of allowing a book to act as a display of its contents as well as a straightforward codex, with pages that you turn. tokonoma was one such attempt. Henry James Sat Here (the title of one of Anne's poems) is in a format that allows it to stand open on its own for display, sit on the knees for reading, and fold into a container for storage on the shelf - click on the button above to see how it works. Basically the nine poem-image pairs are joined together to form a zig-zag of openings, the ends of which can then be turned to face each other to form a circle for display. When folded up, the zig-zag can be dropped into a Japanese-style portfolio, strictly a shallow box with four drop-over flaps. One half-height flap come down from the top, and a second up from the bottom. Two further flaps fold over from right and left, and on the inside of each are the title page and the colophon page respectively which, in this way, become part of the container rather than of the book itself.

This has been a good opportunity to use our 14pt Octavian again - it stands up so well in poetry, especially with strong images - and I have used the same inkjet technology for Kurt's images as I used for Peter Harris's watercolours in The Bricks of Venice. It is capable of rendering both subtlety and intensity on 100% cotton papers and with archival quality. The entire book is printed on 225gsm Somerset watercolour paper.

There are ninety-five copies of which only sixty are for sale. £150 (€240, US$300). (ISBN 978 1 899933 22 8)

On 26 October 2006, in Rochester Public Library, Kurt and Anne had a reception, a brief reading, and exhibit of the book and Kurt's Italian paintings. Kurt's work and Henry James Sat Here were then on display for a month in a gallery at the library.



Oxford's Ornaments

A survey and display of the typographical ornaments at Oxford University Press

View the binding of the de luxe edition of Oxford's Ornaments

View the binding of the standard edition of Oxford's Ornaments

working with the ornaments in pictures
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The text faces that Bishop John Fell acquired for Oxford University Press in the seventeenth century have always had a special attraction for typophiles and, over the decades, have had their due attention. By contrast, the ornaments that Fell and others collected for use at Oxford University Press have received relatively little coverage.

The majority of the type that escaped the smelter at the closure of the Printing House in 1989 was for setting text, but there are in fact around eighty founts of ornaments still in packets. We were delighted to have been given permission by OUP to prepare a small edition showing these remaining ornaments.

The book provides a simple display of each of the extant ornaments, printed using the actual type, with brief notes on each drawn from Stanley Morison’s coverage in his John Fell, the University Press and the ‘Fell’ types and Horace Hart’s catalogue in his A Century of Typography. In particular, the notes for each ornament cover its origins where known, and give details about the punch and/or matrix for it where they are still in OUP’s possession. The book contains a number of typographical arrangements drawn from one of OUP’s own pattern books, fifteen photographs of original materials in OUP's archives (punches, matrices, type specimens, etc), a facsimile of Horace Hart's Synopsis of Fell ornaments printed on a Simili Japon as a fold-out, and further arrangements on a paper hand-made by Batchelor for OUP. 72pp.

Printing the ornaments presented some technical problems, since all type at the University Press at Oxford was set on a higher body than conventional English type. You can read about some of the difficulties created by following the clippings in the archive - click on the 'progress' button above. And there are a number of photographs showing some of the materials we worked with in a sequence that you can reach with the 'the story' button above.

The text was machine-set in 13pt Monotype Van Dijck and was printed letterpress on a demy quarto page of a quantity of an antique Rives BFK paper. The book was case-bound in full cloth, and was uniform in size with our previous titles on OUP (282mm high by 225mm wide). The end-papers and dust-jacket were of Hahnemühle Bugra Bütten. The price was £95 (€160/US$210) plus shipping at cost. Some customers who have collected our de luxe editions of our earlier books on OUP were able to request their copy to be bound in quarter-leather with an Ann Muir marbled paper on the boards and presented in a slipcase (£140, €225, US$300). Sets of sheets were also available (£60, €90, US$120).

There was an edition of just 123 copies, with most going to subscribers, each of whom received an ad personam copy, named and numbered in the press. There were 74 copies in the standard binding and 42 in the de luxe, with seven sets of unbound sheets being sold to binders. 



Fedor Tiutchev

A Russian poet and a Russian illustrator

Read about the poet, wood-engraver, and translator

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Read  more about Sokolov and wood-engraving

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Poetry has a natural attraction for the private press. There is the opportunity for special treatment of the text, without the sheer quantity of printing necessary to put, say, a 150pp book through the press. Since we acquired our Western proof press a few years ago, longer texts have become more practical propositions, but it is pleasing to drop a 'slim volume' into our production schedule to leaven the fare, especially when it comes with some strong engravings.

Fedor Tiutchev (18031873) published poems off and on from 1829, notably between 1836 and 1840 in Pushkin's journal The Contemporary, but he belonged to no poetic group and attached little value to his own verses and none to their publication. Only two books of lyric poetry appeared during his lifetime. apparently thanks entirely to the good offices of his friends including Turgenev. Avril Pyman has prepared translations for fourteen of Tiutchev's poems. Of Tiutchev and his work, she writes 'He was influenced in youth by the Latin poets, and by Pascal and Lamartine, but later by Goethe, Schiller, and Heine. Yet it is perhaps to Tiutchev's years of semi-retirement on his estate near Moscow and to his love for Elena Deniseva who bore him three children, that we owe many of the most inspired poems. In his work, religious impulse alternates with nihilism, veneration for ensouled nature with awful glimpses of the void, and a sensual love of cosmic order with intense, self-destructive attunement to the fascination of 'ancient chaos'. Always sonorous, his language is never artificial or pompous, his poetry conveying fleeting but profound existential insights.'

Tiutchev's poems are accompanied by strikingly cut engravings on perspex by Kirill Sokolov. He was born in Moscow in 1930 and worked and exhibited primarily as an illustrator, engraver and lithographer until he and Avril left Russia. In England, he illustrated two Russian classics for Oxford University Press and several books of poetry, made a series of cover designs for the poetry magazine Stand, and exhibited with the Society of Graphic Artists and Society of Miniaturists. He worked in a wide range of materials and in the 1980s experimented with various techniques: silk-screen, sugar aquatint, dry point, various forms of flat-bed printing, and engraving on plastic blocks, the last of these for a series of engravings for Akhmatova's Requiem (Black Cygnet Press). Kirill died in May 2004.

For this rare presentation of Tiutchev in English, the poems were printed in hand-set 14pt Monotype Octavian on a large page of heavy Somerset mould-made paper, folded on the fore-edge, wrapped in covers of green Fabriano Tiziano, and sewn with tape. There were 100 copies of which sixty were for sale. The price was £20 (€40, US$40). (ISBN 978 1 899933 16 7)


Winter Light

Atmospheric watercolours by Hugh Buchanan with texts by Peter Davidson

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'A beautiful and moving production'
'A stunning production' 'An extraordinary title ... [offering] beautiful prints of watercolors depicting still life interiors from home that feature rich colors and the soft light of winter.'

 


Winter Light brings together a group of Hugh Buchanan’s haunting watercolours of great rooms seen by the low light of winter, with texts by Peter Davidson about the artist's travels through remote places and cold landscapes. The rooms in the pictures are shown as if opened up for a solitary off-season visit, a locked and frozen house as it might be seen by a tradesman making a repair, or a visiting antiquary, shutters opened for one day to let in the brief light.

The text and images evoke a timeless season: rooms never meant to be heated, chambers of stillness and frost, light which hardly rides clear of the horizon. Light striking upwards, snow light, refraction. Shadows of glazing-bars, ladders of winter light across panelling and floors. Silence and the frosty sun moving about the rooms. The book also evokes the poetry of the provinces after the hour has gone back, the melancholy of off-season, almost-empty hotels. Days below zero, when the winter country has sunk into itself and its past. Holly bush and yew tree. Silvered grassland. Mist stirring in the spinney. Antiquity remembered. Worn stone in a net of hoar-frost.


Peter has written two complementary narratives for the book: one follows the sequence of Hugh’s fourteen images as the light and colours change with the moving season, while another takes us on a visitor’s winter journey, moving now through space as well as time. The structure of the book – allowing shutters to be opened to reveal the images – also separates the two texts, whilst letting them run together in parallel.
 

Hugh Buchanan has developed a major reputation as a watercolourist with a special interest in interiors, his most recent exhibition at the Francis Kyle Gallery focussing on libraries. In this new title we reproduce fourteen of his watercolours of interiors, ranging in temperature from the autumnal glow of a silent room to a chill and airless corridor in winter. 

Peter Davidson’s texts have been printed - letterpress of course - in 14pt and 18pt Caslon Old Face from the Stephenson Blake foundry. Hugh Buchanan’s images have been reproduced digitally using archival quality inks, and 330gsm 100% cotton Somerset papers have been used throughout. The book is cased in heavy boards bound in full calf-skin in a chilly aqua colour and with a crushed effect. Two ribbons bring the boards together at the fore-edge. The book is approximately 420mm tall by 300mm wide (16 ½ in. by 11 ½ in.).

The edition was of 100 copies at £280 after publication with a further 25 not for sale.

You can find out more about Hugh Buchanan's work at his website.


The Colours of Rome

Decorative painter John Sutcliffe on the pigments that give Rome its characteristic visual flavour

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'highly unusual and beautifully produced book' ... 'magnificent' ... 'I fell for it as soon as I saw it' ... 'a magnificent production' ... 'a work of art' ... 'outstanding' ... 'a beautiful unique book' ... 'it's lovely' ... 'incredibly beautiful' ... 'utterly marvelous' ... 'a beautifully produced object, a pleasure to hold'

 WINNER of a 'Judges' Choice Award'
at the 2013 Oxford Fine Press Book Fair


John Sutcliffe knows about colour. A former regional curator at the National Trust and now active as a decorative painter, his expertise in the topic, in particular in an architectural setting, was extensively used by Farrow & Ball, a company that will surely be known to many, at the time when they were first building up their reputation for traditional paints and hand-produced wallpapers. For many years John’s interest in colour has taken him to the Mediterranean, to Italy, and in particular to Rome. The buildings of Rome’s centro storico carry on their walls many layers of coloured limewash and distemper, layers that have both accumulated and decayed over time, thereby capturing the changing fashions in colour.

John’s vision for this book was a survey of the city’s colourscape, a palette of colours so different from that of, say, Venice, Tuscany, or Palermo, and a palette that is today in a period of great change. His new essay traces the history of that palette and the influences that have led it to its state today.

To illustrate the essay John made several trips to Rome, returning finally with twenty sheets of colours copied directly from the buildings themselves. His carefully chosen selection is designed to demonstrate the diversity of the palette and also to draw together two very different strands of tradition that have created the appearance of the streets of Rome today. Each of the twenty colours is illustrated with a large painted patch applied directly onto its own sheet of Magnani wove using water-based paints. These sheets are loose in a wallet within the cased sleeve that holds the book, thus making it possible for the reader to explore the colours in different combinations just as they appear in Rome. A swatch card of chips of the twenty colours is also included in the wallet.

The text is printed in 14pt Dante on a large page of Magnani hand-made laid paper, with headings printed from wood-letter. The book is bound in full cloth and is protected by the sleeve inside which the wallet of paint patches is attached. In addition to the standard edition of ninety-nine copies there were twenty-five de luxe copies that take the form of a solander box containing, as well as the standard edition book, bottled samples of nine of the most important pigments, mostly earths, in powdered form.

The book is 323mm by 235mm (about 12.75 inches by 9.25 inches); the solander box is slightly larger and 92mm deep (3.75 inches)

The price was £185 (euro235, US$350) for a standard copy and £350 (euro435, US$580) for a de luxe copy.

If you know our books you will know we love colour, so this was a project that appealed from the outset. If Rome, architecture, and the way our cities change interest you, this book will appeal, and we hope that the production qualities will enhance your enjoyment. Uniquely, it is the only record of the most characteristic colours to be seen in Rome today, perhaps the only such survey of any city. The book received full-page reviews in the Times Literary Supplement (7 April 2014) and World of Interiors (May 2014).


Venice Approached

A reprint of the text of our first publication

View the book from several aspects

follow the story of the making of this book

'great book' ... 'beautifully printed' ... 'very beautiful'


Our very first book, published in 1992 (though the title page says 1991!), was a text taken from John Ruskin's The Stones of Venice. Amongst about 120 cases of type that I bought early on from a letterpress shop that was closing down was a full case of 24pt Bembo italic - fresh, unused - and I used that for a large landscape book in a small edition. The sheets were folded on the fore-edge meaning that I had to print very long pieces of paper on a 10x15 platen press - a daft thing for a beginner to do. I've always wanted to reprint it, hoping to make a better job of it, and this is the reprint, slightly extended, this time printed on our Western proof press.

Ruskin had a wonderful Victorian style: long, complex sentences, weaving in and out of subordinate clauses. For the compositor the result has its upside and its downside. Unusually, the first thing I would run out of was commas! On the upside his enormously long paragraphs meant solid blocks of text on the page, something I find rather attractive: none of those irritating indentations at the start of new paragraphs (I find unindented paragraphs equally annoying as the last sentence of the preceding paragraph simply finishes in mid-air - an annoying feature of many Golden Cockerell books.) On the other hand, that meant even greater care when hand-setting as correcting an error early in such a paragraph could mean having to rejustify the entire paragraph.

I hand-set the text in 14pt Hunt Roman and printed it on a pale blue Hodgkinson hand-made paper, making a single section of 16 pages sewn into a simple case. To cover the boards I decided to use up a number of oddments from my plan chest: four patterned sheets hand-blocked by Alberto Valese in Venice cover eight cases (they were left over from the original 1992 edition), and twenty-five overs of marbled papers that Ann Muir made for me over the years for various projects make another fifty. So, just fifty-eight copies. The eight copies in Valese papers were not for sale, but the others were £60 (euro90, US$120) each.
 


Copyright © Martyn Ould 2016

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