Giraldus Cambrensis – Itinerary Through Wales, Gwasg Gregynog, 1989

{Ed. Note: This article is the latest from Books and Vines contributor Neil.}

Giraldus Cambrensis (Gerald of Wales) was born in Pembrokshire in around 1146.  His father, William De Barry, was a leading Welsh nobleman of Norman/Welsh ancestry.  His uncle was the Bishop of St.David’s and he received a religious education.  In 1188 he accompanied The Archbishop of Canterbury, Baldwin of Exeter, on a tour of Wales recruiting for the Third Crusade, which led to him writing the ‘Itinerary’ in 1191.  Gerald was a well respected scholar. His  writings are in Latin, with clear indications of significant classical knowledge and leanings gained from travel.  He died in 1223.

As with other Gwasg Gregynog books reviewed on Books and Vines (here, here, here and here), this book is wonderfully done, with top notch paper, type, binding and wood engravings. This is a fantastic press, and though topics often may not be of general interest, I would encourage readers with even a minor interest in one of the titles to get a hold of it, as the books themselves are a wonderful edition to any collection of fine press books.

About the Edition

  • Published in 1989
  • In 1990 it was awarded the ‘Felice Feliciano’ prize
  • Edited with an introduction and notes by Brynley F. Roberts
  • Wood-engravings by Colin Paynton
  • Title panel and spine lettering by Michael Harvey
  • 33 engravings printed from the blocks in black with borders printed in a two-colour combination of red, blue, yellow and green
  • Bound by Zaehnsdorf in quarter red goatskin with grey paper covered boards
  • Grey cloth slipcase
  • Printed on a Heidelberg
  • 14pt Bembo type
  • Zerkall mould-made paper
  • xvi + 102pp
  • 365 X 208mm
  • 302 copies signed by the Artist


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Giraldus Cambrensis, Gwasg Gregynog, Cover and Spine
Giraldus Cambrensis, Gwasg Gregynog
Giraldus Cambrensis, Gwasg Gregynog, Title Page
Giraldus Cambrensis, Gwasg Gregynog, Sample Illustration #1 with Text
Giraldus Cambrensis, Gwasg Gregynog, Sample Text #1
Giraldus Cambrensis, Gwasg Gregynog, Sample Illustration #2 with Text
Giraldus Cambrensis, Gwasg Gregynog, Sample Illustration #3 with Text
Giraldus Cambrensis, Gwasg Gregynog, Sample Illustration #4 with Text
Giraldus Cambrensis, Gwasg Gregynog, Colophon

One thought on “Giraldus Cambrensis – Itinerary Through Wales, Gwasg Gregynog, 1989

  1. I thought I was familiar with nearly all of the Gwasg Gregynog (GG) books but this book clearly came and went before I was aware of and collecting the GG Press books. Although the GG books that pertain solely to Wales (or persons associated with Wales) are usually not of interest to me, this book is an exception because of its historical importance and interest. In essence, it is an eyewitness account of Wales in the 12th century and gives a window into it in the same way Geoffrey Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’ and William Langland’s ‘Piers Plowman’ do for England several centuries later.

    The book has the hallmarks of a Gwasg Gregynog book — excellent book design with generous margins to the columns of text, flawless presswork, and a book that is eminently readable, “easy on the eye”. The small wood-engravings with elaborate borders found on every other page are superb and are in keeping with the time and place of the book. Unfortunately, this book has become prohibitively expensive in the secondary market, bad news for latecomers who want a copy.

    Thanks for posting this one — new to me, for certain.

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