A Look at the Renowned Alberto Tallone Printing House, Alpignano, Italy

{Ed. Note: 8/25/12, added four pictures of Tallone’s 1935 edition of Odes by John Keats. See in the pictures section, towards the end of the section looking at their books.}

Alberto Tallone Printing House is an Italian institution, publishing fine books since the early 1930’s; first in Paris then moving to Alpignano, Italy in 1959. Alberto Tallone moved from Milan to Paris in 1931 in order to apprentice at Maurice Darantieres typographical workshop. Tallone took over the workshop in 1938. Rather than me flailing at trying to provide a summary of the press and Alberto Tallone, let me turn to Matrix, the fine and sought after annual review for printers and bibliophiles published by The Whittington PressMatrix 14 (1994) has an excellent article on Alberto Tallone Editore called One Day in Alpignano, and The Whittington Press (John Randle) has kindly allowed me to provide that article in a section just a few paragraphs below.

Alberto Tallone Printing House publishes a few editions each year, all are set by hand with original lead types (whose matrices date back to the 18th century). Texts are printed on pure cotton paper (acid-free of course). Tallone believes in the beauty of typographical pages, and so most editions do not come with illustrations. Layout and setting takes precedence. Publications are typically classics of Literature and Poetry in their original language.

The typographical XVIII century atelier (workshop) they use is the most ancient publishing enterprise which has been operating daily since than – apart from some national institutions such as the Imprimerie National and the Plantin Museum. They know the names of all 9 owners of the atelier before them, the last of which preceding Alberto Tallone was Maurice Darantiere. Their moveable types were all cast in the original matrixes: Caslon, Kis, Garamond Deberny & Peignot, Gregorian Chant ‘Beaudoire’ cast by Deberny, Tallone handcut by Charles Malin and cast by Radiguer in Paris, to mention the most important ones.

This link takes you to an English language PDF that presents a catalogue of books from Alberto Tallone Printing House, going back to 1943.  Readers interested in any edition should contact the printing house here. There is much of interest in this list, be ready to safeguard your wallet (if I could read Italian, I would be in trouble!)! You will find works by Ceronetti, Pablo Neruda, Pre-Socartis Philosophers, Petrarch, Shakespeare, Ezra Pound, Dante Alighieri, Elémire Zolla, Charles Perrault, Gustave Flaubert, Charles Baudelaire, Miguel Angel Asturias, as well as many more authors better known in Italy than the U.S., and of course a number of excellent works of printing (as you will see below).

Next up for Alberto Tallone Printing House is an original tale Boto, The Pink Delphin by poetess Marcia Theophilo. She was born in the Amazonian rainforest and she strives to protect it from deforestation through her poetry and writings. It will be in italian because the poetess has been living in Italy since she was blackmailed in Brazil many years ago. Readers, collectors and gourmands can also look forward to a new edition of Grimaud de la Reyniere‘s Manuel des Amphitryons.

Fine press lovers should give the Alberto Tallone Printing House a good look; those who can read Italian and/or any of the languages reflected in the books they have published should put them high on the list for collecting. From what I have seen, the quality is fantastic, and the history and tradition behind the house deserves the continued support of the fine press community.

Matrix 14 (1994), One Day in Alpignano

Some pictures from Alberto Tallone Printing House will follow below, but first, here is the article from Matrix 14 (1994), about Alberto Tallone Editore, called One Day in Alpignano, courtesy of The Whittington Press.

A Day in Alpignano, Matrix 14, The Whittington Press, Page 1
A Day in Alpignano, Matrix 14, The Whittington Press, Page 2
A Day in Alpignano, Matrix 14, The Whittington Press, Page 3
A Day in Alpignano, Matrix 14, The Whittington Press, Page 4
A Day in Alpignano, Matrix 14, The Whittington Press, Page 5
A Day in Alpignano, Matrix 14, The Whittington Press, Page 6
A Day in Alpignano, Matrix 14, The Whittington Press, Page 7
A Day in Alpignano, Matrix 14, The Whittington Press, Page 8
A Day in Alpignano, Matrix 14, The Whittington Press, Page 9

Pictures

Below are random pictures giving you a flavor of the work done at Alberto Tallone Printing House.

Various Publications #1, Alberto Tallone Printing House
Various Publications #2, Alberto Tallone Printing House
Various Publications #3, Alberto Tallone Printing House
Description of Three Typographical Handbooks, in which all the Tallone Publisher’s aesthetic, graphic and philologic conceptions are collected and an aesthetic commentaire of the most beautiful types used by our printinghouse is comprised also. The handbooks will be hosted at Triennale Design Museum in Milan until 2.24.13.
RAGIONAMENTO DELLA STAMPA FATTO AI MARMI DI FIRENZE: A Discussion about Printing, Anton Francesco Doni, first English translation, that is a Florentine dialogue written in the Renaissance, about the revolution prompted by printing invention. Bilingual edition with the inedited first English translation by David Brancaleone, followed by the Italian text excerpted by the original Venetian edition which dates back to 1552-53. An in-8° volume of 92 pages set by hand with the Caslon types. A few copies are printed on exotic papers and 250 on Magnani paper produced in Tuscany. EURO 140 (2003)
A Discussion about Printing, Alberto Tallone Printing House
This is the frontispiece of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven – Le Corbeau, printed in Paris in 1948. The French translation was done by Charles Baudelaire.
Frontespizio Hamlet, Alberto Tallone Printing House
Hamlet, Alberto Tallone Printing House, Sample Text
Hamlet, Alberto Tallone Printing House, Colophon
Shakespeare’s Sonnets, Alberto Tallone Printing House
Brillat Savarin’s Physiologie su gout, Alberto Tallone Printing House, Title
Maistre Pierre Pathelin, Alberto Tallone Printing House, Title
Maistre Pierre Pathelin, Alberto Tallone Printing House, Sample Text
Perrault, Alberto Tallone Printing House, Sample Illustration #1 with Text
Perrault, Alberto Tallone Printing House, Sample Illustration #2 with Text
Perrault, Alberto Tallone Printing House, Sample Illustration #3 with Text
Perrault, Alberto Tallone Printing House, Sample Illustration #4 with Text
Odes of Keats, Alberto Tallone Printing House, Half-Title
Odes of Keats, Alberto Tallone Printing House, Sample Text #1 (libro aperto)
Odes of Keats, Alberto Tallone Printing House, Sample Text #2 (Ode to Sorrow)
Odes of Keats, Alberto Tallone Printing House, Colophon
Misc., Alberto Tallone Printing House (look at the beautiful type!)
Grollier Club – Exhibition which took place in New York
Exhibition which took place in San Francisco
About an exhibition of Tallone’s books in Amsterdam which took place in 1952.
About an exhibition of Tallone’s books in Amsterdam which took place in 1952, part 2.
About an exhibition of Tallone’s books in Amsterdam which took place in 1952, part 3.
Photographs of their XVIII century typographical workshop, as it was in Paris from 1938 to 1958 (rue de Tournelles 28)
Picture of the Tallone Workshop today
Some type

11 thoughts on “A Look at the Renowned Alberto Tallone Printing House, Alpignano, Italy

  1. This is a follow-up on two points.
    1. Tallone Press books can now be ordered from the publisher via PayPal.
    2. Chris has added photographs of their great Odes by John Keats, from 1935, to the above article.

  2. Very glad to learn that you have reprinted my article in Matrix.Such a shame that you quote the title slightly wrongly !

    There were a good many other Italian fine printers in the past: Daniell Gaqbriel Rummonds wrote a bit about them just as he wrote about his Plain Wrapper Press. Could you some time include pieces on these? And the Dutch and German private printers, whose work doesn’t get the publicity in Britain and North America it deserves

    Roderick Cave

    1. Hello Mr.Cave; sorry about that, what a dumb editorial error on my part! Fixed it. I would love to get some more articles going on some other Italian fine printers, as well as Dutch, German and others. Specific suggestions would be great!

      BTW, the same subscriber who led me to and introduced my to Alberto Tallone’ printing house has also suggested an article on CENTO AMICI DEL LIBRO (THE ONE HUNDRED FRIENDS OF THE BOOK), which I hope to do.

      Thanks for commenting and sorry again for the error. Your article was fantastic!
      Chris

  3. Gary:

    Unfortunately, sending books via airmail from Italy to the U.S. is quite pricey and this is not unique to Alberto Tallone Printing House. Over the past several years I have ordered books from several different booksellers in Italy and invariably the airmail cost always varies between $40 to $50 depending on the size and weight of the book.

  4. Beautiful books, and I have ordered one. But be prepared to pay dearly for airmail postage from Italy to the US – for delivery in 7-10 days, it is 35 Euros for a standard book (200 pp., 7 x 10 in.)–that’s $42.75. Also, the Tallone Press accepts bank transfers and credit cards but the latter through Western Union or Moneygram, both of which charge a fee.

  5. A few years ago I read the essay by Roderick Cave in a book called ‘Fine Printing and Private Presses’ which left me with desire to see some of the ‘Tallone’ books. This fine article and wonderful collection has confirmed Cave’s high opinion of the elegant and beautifully produced books that come from this press. I hope we’ll be treated to some more images in the future !

  6. I wonder if “Tallone” means “elegant” in Italian because these editions are certainly that, in an understated, very Italian manner. How did I ever miss this private press, especially with its eighty-year history of fine printing?

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