A Look at the Incline Press

{Ed. Note: I would like to thank Books and Vines contributor Neil for providing some information, sentences and pictures for this article, as well as to Peter Owen, a 30 year Incline Press subscriber who owns each of their books, for his comments.}

I recently received a shipment from the Incline Press, and I am enthusiastic to share their work with all Books and Vines readers. I knew from frequent perusal of their website that there were many items of interest, and that the philosophy or the press and quality of the output looked right up my alley. I corresponded with Graham Moss, proprietor of the press, who confirmed what I was hoping to hear:

We do the whole lot in-house – commissioning text and illustration, choosing paper and metal typeface, and even when not hand-binding ourselves, we make all the decisions regarding style and design of the finished book. The only thing we don’t do is the actual illustration, merely choosing the artist or artwork that suits the text. I think that’s what makes a private press, not simply that we don’t run with the market, but that also we do the work ourselves. And still for the pleasure of it all!

It is the pursuit of individuality, a dedication to the craft of book form, that peaks my interest in private presses. Juan Pascoe, of Taller Martin Pescador, stated this better that I can when he recently commented that:

The writing of books —like the composition of music— is one of the best activities of human endeavor; those texts which exhibit singularity —as well as those pieces of music which take on “lives” of their own— are entitled to appear in a form which is collaborative and brings forth “that which is implied but not yet seen”. The Technological Machine would like us to read —bland, any type, any size, any shape— off electronic devices, the Trade —Stanley Morison’s catch-all— has no time to bother; we keep the art afloat, we are the keepers of the flame, the keepers of the printer’s marks.

Mr. Moss certainly falls into the category of a “keeper of the flame” so I was anxious to get my hands on some of his work, and within a couple weeks of our correspondence a package came from Incline Press which I tore into. First, some background on Incline Press. While teaching history, Mr. Moss developed an interest in paper conservation and book repair, which eventually led to his buying a small printing press in 1990. This, in turn, led to a developing interest in type faces and design. In 1993, his first publishing project began, Oliver Goldsmith’s The Deserted Village, though a new edition of designer Enid Marx’s 1938 set of wood engravings for Nursery Rhymes ended up being first out the door. Since then, over 50 books have been published and many cabinets of type have been collected! The work is done on a table-top Adana, a Vandercook proofing press, an Arab treadle press, a Heidelberg, an Auto-Vic, and a Victoria Art Platen. The Incline Press is located in what was a small 1820s cotton mill on one of the oldest streets in the heart of Oldham town centre. Mr. Moss is aided greatly by Kathy Whalen who has been working with Incline Press for many years.

Graham Moss printing on the Arab
Graham Moss printing on the Arab treadle press
Incline Press, Nothing but Hand-Made Books!
Incline Press, Nothing but Hand-Made Books!

In talking to a couple people who know Mr. Moss, it is clear he has a fabulous personality and a large circle of friends and admirers, with one person commenting that “his generosity with his time/knowledge and his natural enthusiasm cannot be overestimated – he is one of the ‘good guys’…”.  Booksellers, artists, printers and seemingly everyone involved in the fine press world know Graham Moss and many have contributed to the books he has produced and published.  He lectures, writes and trains on all aspects of hand bookmaking. His volumes are very popular with designer bookbinders and you will find a lot of examples of Incline Press productions in spectacular clothing on their sites.

Incline Press books are always generous in format and content and the larger volumes are packed with ‘tip-ins’ and illustrations that give them a very recognisable Incline Press house style.  The price that he asks for these generous hand-made volumes, that are always well written and produced and backed up with comprehensive research, is low in comparison to the quality of the books themselves to the extent that you wonder how he makes any money from them!

The Incline Press publication list is quite eclectic but here are a few themes and categories in which their books would fall:

  • They have produced some monumental monographs on individual Artists and Typographers such as Elizabeth Friedlander, Peggy Angus, Thomas Lowinsky and E.R. Weiss.
  • Paper has been the subject of a few books, such as;  Ebru and Harvesting Colour from the great Ann Muir (Harvesting with 12 huge original fold outs of her marbled paper) and In Praise of Patterned Paper, with scores and scores of tipped-in patterned paper samples) with essays from the likes of Paul Nash.
  • Printing, Typefaces etc. are always well represented (quite a few in booklets) with titles such as;  Printing in St. PetersburgHandmade Type and An Unsolicited Testimonial from Benjamin Franklin and John Baskerville.  A series of slim poetry volumes (the most recent being Pangur Ban) are type specimens.  Two large production, Forty Sheets to the Wind and Hung Out to Dry are packed with posters and ephemera etc. showing the huge array of type, titling faces and borders and flowers amassed by the Press.
  • Wood engraving features in a number of his books and Burin, Box & Board is a good example of an artist that very few of us would have heard of if he hadn’t published.
  • Steel Horizon contains poetry and linocuts from Jonathan and Nick Wonham on the experience of working on the Northern Oil Rigs – a subject that you will not find from any other press and an appropriate one to come from one situated in the industrial heartland of England.
  • Individually designed and bound volumes, a good example being the slim volume of poetry called Sunspots, from Ray Greenblat, which you will see below.

As you can see, there is something here for all lovers of fine printing across many areas of interest. The most important feature of his books is that they have a ‘personality’ that must come from Mr. Moss himself and their location in the North of England that gives them a flavour different to the majority of presses that come from historically more affluent area’s in the south of the country.

It is well worth mentioning that Chetham’s Library in Manchester, founded in 1653 making it the oldest public library in the English-speaking world, has an Incline Press archive.  Here is a list of all Incline Press published books, all of which you will find at the library. Without further loquaciousness on my part, let’s look at some of the work of Incline Press.

A Christmas Carol

One book that I was immediately interested in was A Christmas Carol, using the text of the first issue, published in 1843. This Dickens work is a favorite of mine, and the Arion Press and Limited Edition Club versions I have on my shelf have been looking for a worthy companion. As you will see below, this edition from Incline Press is marvelous. The Chris Burke illustrations are lively and bursting with enthusiasm and color.  They provide both a fresh take of scenes etched in many of our heads, yet still are narratively accurate with elements bound to tradition.

  • Each book has a preparatory sketch from Chris Burke, signed by him
  • The paper is Incline Press making of Magnanni, supplied by John Purcell Paper
  • The text typeface is 11 point Bell, cast by Harry MacIntosh of Speedspools in Edinburgh
  • Nineteenth century wooden type ornament used to print Marley’s chains for the decorated paper on the bindings
  • The line of flowers at the heads of the pages were cast at the now defunct foundry of Stephenson Blake, Sheffield
  • The plates were printed by Northends of Sheffield and tipped in
  • Hand bound in the workshop of Stephen Conway at Bradford
  • Limited to 200 copies
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Cover
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Cover
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Cover and Spine
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Cover and Spine
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Macro of Cover
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Macro of Cover
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Macro of Spine
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Macro of Spine
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Macro Side View
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Macro Side View
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Title Page
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Title Page
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Sample Page with Text
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Sample Page with Text
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Macro of Sample Page with Text
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Macro of Sample Page with Text
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #1 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #1 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Macro of Sample Illustration #1
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Macro of Sample Illustration #1
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #3 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #2 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Preparatory Sketch
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Preparatory Sketch
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Macro of Text
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Macro of Text
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Colophon
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Colophon

Minerva, Mantone and Circes

Also of interest to me, and newly released, is Minerva, Mantone and Circes, by Giovanni Boccaccio, extracted from his De Mulieribus Claris (On Famous Women), a collection of one hundred and six biographies and is noted for being the first devoted entirely to women. This edition, edited with an introduction by Rhiannon Daniels and Guyda Armstrong, was produced to commemorate Boccaccio’s 700th anniversary and to accompany the Boccaccio exhibition at the John Rylands Library in Manchester ( which runs to December 2013, so you still have time to go check it out).  Mr. Moss explained to me his interest in printing this:

Knowing one of the authors, Boccaccio was too good an opportunity to miss – the story concerning the first English translation told in the introduction is chilling and certainly not well known, and the opportunity of using the pairs of images so similarity and change in engraving technique in those early days of book production can be compared, was a rare treat only possible thanks to the kindness of the John Rylands Library.

More about this edition:

  • Three of his most engaging biographies have been chosen from Lord Morley’s 1543 translation:
    • Pallas Athena (or Minerva), the goddess of Wisdom and War
    • Circe, the sorceress, who captivated Odysseus
    • Manto the prophet and daughter of Tiresias
  • Morley’s dedication to King Henry VIII has also been included
  • The text has been lightly modernised and given a full introduction by Rhiannon Daniels and Guyda Armstrong
  • The illustrations for the book come from a 1473 and a 1541 edition of the De Mulieribus Claris
  • Initials and head and tail-pieces from Charlotte Whittingham and Mary Byfield engraved in the 1840s and an appropriately lavish Monotype border add to the beauty of the pages
  • This book is letterpress printed onto 24 pages of gloriously blue paper provided courtesy of John Foreman; It is 8¼ x 5 ¼ inches; set in Poliphilus type (by Harry McIntosh), and bound here at the Press
  • The edition is less than 240 numbered copies, of which 50 are hard backed and the remainder bound in card with a printed paper wrapper.
Minerva, Mantone and Circes, Incline Press, Cover
Minerva, Mantone and Circes, Incline Press, Cover
Minerva, Mantone and Circes, Incline Press, Frontispiece and Title Page
Minerva, Mantone and Circes, Incline Press, Frontispiece and Title Page
Minerva, Mantone and Circes, Incline Press, Sample Decoration #1 and Text
Minerva, Mantone and Circes, Incline Press, Sample Decoration #1 and Text
Minerva, Mantone and Circes, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #1 and Text
Minerva, Mantone and Circes, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #1 and Text
Minerva, Mantone and Circes, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #2 and Text
Minerva, Mantone and Circes, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #2 and Text
Minerva, Mantone and Circes, Incline Press, Colophon
Minerva, Mantone and Circes, Incline Press, Colophon
Minerva, Mantone and Circes, Incline Press, From the Cover
Minerva, Mantone and Circes, Incline Press, From the Cover

Harvesting Colour

A book by the great Ann Muir, with 12 actual examples of marbled paper, each are 9 inches tall and unfold to 20 inches (an unusually large sheet to display the beautiful detail of each design). Ann Muir’s book begins in January, as she starts a new year in her marbling workshop in St. Algar’s Farmyard. As she leads us through a year of her working life, she also retraces her career, sharing the ups and downs of her fifteen years as a marbler.  Set in Baskerville and Old Face Open types on archival-quality Heritage 160 gsm paper, deliberately cut against the grain. Half buckram, marbled boards, uncut, with a matching slip-case. Limited to 250 copies, signed and numbered by the author.

Harvesting Colour, Incline Press, Book in Slipcase
Harvesting Colour, Incline Press, Book in Slipcase
Harvesting Colour, Incline Press, Cover
Harvesting Colour, Incline Press, Cover
Harvesting Colour, Incline Press, Title Page
Harvesting Colour, Incline Press, Title Page
Harvesting Colour, Incline Press, Sample Text
Harvesting Colour, Incline Press, Sample Text
Harvesting Colour, Incline Press, Sample Marbled Paper #1
Harvesting Colour, Incline Press, Sample Marbled Paper #1
Harvesting Colour, Incline Press, Sample Marbled Paper #2
Harvesting Colour, Incline Press, Sample Marbled Paper #2
Harvesting Colour, Incline Press, Sample Marbled Paper #3
Harvesting Colour, Incline Press, Sample Marbled Paper #3
Harvesting Colour, Incline Press, Sample Marbled Paper #4
Harvesting Colour, Incline Press, Sample Marbled Paper #4
Harvesting Colour, Incline Press, Colophon
Harvesting Colour, Incline Press, Colophon

In Praise of Patterned Papers

A collection of essays by Paul Nash, Phyllis Barron, Enid Marx, Alan Powers, Sebastian Carter, Victoria Hall, Graham Moss, on patterned papers for book decoration, and containing tipped-in examples of patterned papers. A fine production with 96 tipped-in colorful samples of patterned papers, most original, and certainly the most extensive work on the subject; includes a discursive bibliography by Graham Moss. Goudy Old Style type on Zerkall paper. Patterned paper boards, cloth spine, in matching slipcase. 7 1/2″ x 10 1/2″. 120 pages. Limited to 360 copies.

In Praise of Patterned Papers, Incline Press, Book in Slipcase
In Praise of Patterned Papers, Incline Press, Book in Slipcase
In Praise of Patterned Papers, Incline Press, Cover
In Praise of Patterned Papers, Incline Press, Cover
In Praise of Patterned Papers, Incline Press, Title Page
In Praise of Patterned Papers, Incline Press, Title Page
In Praise of Patterned Papers, Incline Press, Sample Papers #1 and text
In Praise of Patterned Papers, Incline Press, Sample Papers #1 and text
In Praise of Patterned Papers, Incline Press, Sample Papers #3 and text
In Praise of Patterned Papers, Incline Press, Sample Papers #2 and text
In Praise of Patterned Papers, Incline Press, Sample Papers #4 and text
In Praise of Patterned Papers, Incline Press, Sample Papers #3 and text
In Praise of Patterned Papers, Incline Press, Sample Papers #5 and text
In Praise of Patterned Papers, Incline Press, Sample Papers #4 and text
In Praise of Patterned Papers, Incline Press, Sample Papers #6
In Praise of Patterned Papers, Incline Press, Sample Papers #5
In Praise of Patterned Papers, Incline Press, Colophon
In Praise of Patterned Papers, Incline Press, Colophon

Burin Box & Board

Leave it to Graham Moss to publish a book about an artist/designer who was well known in his own country, but that nearly none of the rest of us have heard of!  This volume is about Lennart Forsberg who was born in Sweden in 1915 and it shows all of his woodcuts from the two books he illustrated along with a selection of his prints from linoleum and board. It is also typical of Graham Moss to experiment with his format and typography and, especially on the title page, he experiments with asymmetric typography and the text is printed throughout with a sans-serif typeface, in this case the famous Gill Sans.  He also printed the text in a soft grey colour to better highlight the black & white engravings.
So – this is absolutely a private press production in that the printer/publisher has chosen a subject that has no guarantee of popularity and ‘played’ with the design of the book, challenging his own skills and knowledge as part of the process.  In a way I can’t define well, the book has a very ‘clean-cut’, ‘designed’ look that sits well with a Swedish subject – maybe the likes of Ikea should get Graham to do some design work for them!!!

The book contains thirty-nine prints, all printed from the original wood or lino, and a photo of the artist taken beside his 1873 hand press. These prints, along with the text, reveal the many aspects of Forsberg’s long working life as an engraver, designer and printmaker. Set in Gill Sans, the type includes the rarely seen alternative letterforms cut in the 1930s to conform to other sans serif designs. The book is about 10 inches square (260 mm), four 16-page sections, 57 pages in all and hand bound in the workshop of Stephen Conway in printed-paper over boards with a cloth spine.

buri 003
Burin Box & Board, Incline Press, Cover
Burin Box & Board, Incline Press, Title Page
Burin Box & Board, Incline Press, Title Page
Burin Box & Board, Incline Press, Photograph with Text
Burin Box & Board, Incline Press, Photograph with Text
Burin Box & Board, Incline Press, Cover
Burin Box & Board, Incline Press, Sample Section Page
Burin Box & Board, Incline Press, Sample Illustrations #2 with text
Burin Box & Board, Incline Press, Sample Illustrations #1 with text
Burin Box & Board, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #3
Burin Box & Board, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #2
Burin Box & Board, Incline Press, Sample Illustrations #4 with text
Burin Box & Board, Incline Press, Sample Illustrations #3 with text
Burin Box & Board, Incline Press, Colophon
Burin Box & Board, Incline Press, Colophon

Garden Relicts

Another nicely done work is Garden Relicts, by Bert and Molly Eastman, published in 2006.  There are twenty-one pages, printed recto only, hand set in 24 point Bembo italic and illustrated with fifteen one, two and three colour linocuts and copper relief etchings. The stab-sewn binding has been done by hand in the workshop of Chris Hicks. It features cloth hinges and an original Curwen Press patterned paper designed by Elizabeth Friedlander and is housed in a bright red slipcase. Printed on Magnani paper in an edition of 140 copies, all numbered and signed.

Garden Relicts, Incline Press, Spine and Cover
Garden Relicts, Incline Press, Spine and Cover
Garden Relicts, Incline Press, Cover
Garden Relicts, Incline Press, Cover
Garden Relicts, Incline Press, Macro of Spine
Garden Relicts, Incline Press, Macro of Spine
Garden Relicts, Incline Press, Macro Side View
Garden Relicts, Incline Press, Macro Side View
Garden Relicts, Incline Press, Title Page
Garden Relicts, Incline Press, Title Page
Garden Relicts, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #1 with Text
Garden Relicts, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #1 with Text
Garden Relicts, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #2 with Text
Garden Relicts, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #2 with Text
Garden Relicts, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #3 with Text
Garden Relicts, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #3 with Text
Garden Relicts, Incline Press, Macro of Text
Garden Relicts, Incline Press, Macro of Text
Garden Relicts, Incline Press, Colophon
Garden Relicts, Incline Press, Colophon

Sunspots

I found the next book, Sunspots, poems by prized poet Ray Greenblatt, wonderfully designed and executed. I especially love the hand made Khadi paper from India! Besides the paper, Mr. Moss used 16 point Weiss Italic type from the Bauer Foundry in Barcelona Spain (hand set), and utilized Bert Eastman to make a tri-tone linocut after a marble relief of the sun in the Archaeological Museum at Bergama in Turkey.Tri-fold leaves are sewed in an unglued binding with Irish linen thread onto golden-yellow ribbons which tie to keep the  book closed, and it is then slipped in an archival manilla chemise with a title-label. Limited to 150 copies.

Sunspots, Incline Press, Chemise
Sunspots, Incline Press, Chemise
Sunspots, Incline Press, Cover
Sunspots, Incline Press, Cover
Sunspots, Incline Press, Sample Text (and Tri-fold)
Sunspots, Incline Press, Sample Text (and Tri-fold)
Sunspots, Incline Press, Sample Text #2
Sunspots, Incline Press, Sample Text #2
Sunspots, Incline Press, Colophon
Sunspots, Incline Press, Colophon

The Book Decorations of Thomas Lowinsky

Hand bound quarter-cloth, with boards covered with a new printing of one of Thomas Lowinsky’s Curwen designs, the book measures 13 x 9 inches, has 122 pages, and is printed in Fournier types on Magnani acid-free paper. The book includes more than 90 illustrations, including all of his surviving unpublished illustrations, an autograph poem and an ink sketch made while he was serving in the army, two woodcuts, and all of his patterned paper designs and publishers’ devices.The facsimile pages and plates have been printed on a range of hand- and mould-made papers to approximate the originals. The book is protected in a slipcase. Limited to  250 copies. The book opens with a memoir by Katherine Thirkell, the artist’s daughter, recollecting her father as both parent and artist.

Lowinsky
The Book Decorations of Thomas Lowinsky, Incline Press, Slipcase
The Book Decorations of Thomas Lowinsky, Incline Press, Spine and Cover
The Book Decorations of Thomas Lowinsky, Incline Press, Spine and Cover
The Book Decorations of Thomas Lowinsky, Incline Press, Frontispiece and Title Page
The Book Decorations of Thomas Lowinsky, Incline Press, Frontispiece and Title Page
The Book Decorations of Thomas Lowinsky, Incline Press, Contents
The Book Decorations of Thomas Lowinsky, Incline Press, Contents
The Book Decorations of Thomas Lowinsky, Incline Press, Sample #1
The Book Decorations of Thomas Lowinsky, Incline Press, Sample #1
The Book Decorations of Thomas Lowinsky, Incline Press, Sample #2
The Book Decorations of Thomas Lowinsky, Incline Press, Sample #2
The Book Decorations of Thomas Lowinsky, Incline Press, Sample #3
The Book Decorations of Thomas Lowinsky, Incline Press, Sample #3
The Book Decorations of Thomas Lowinsky, Incline Press, Sample #4
The Book Decorations of Thomas Lowinsky, Incline Press, Sample #4
The Book Decorations of Thomas Lowinsky, Incline Press, Sample #5
The Book Decorations of Thomas Lowinsky, Incline Press, Sample #5
The Book Decorations of Thomas Lowinsky, Incline Press, Sample #7
The Book Decorations of Thomas Lowinsky, Incline Press, Sample #6
The Book Decorations of Thomas Lowinsky, Incline Press, Colophon
The Book Decorations of Thomas Lowinsky, Incline Press, Colophon

Steel Horizon

The 52 pages of Steel Horizon include 29 poems and 10 full-page linocuts. It was hand set in Lectura and printed on Magnani Avorio paper in an edition of 200; each copy signed by Nick and Jonathan Wonham. At four sections, 12 1/2 x 8 inches, it is a lovely book for hand binding, large enough to have fun with, small enough to be manageable with a nice hand. The edition is hand sewn and hard-bound. The front board is covered in a grey paper letterpress printed with one of Nick’s two-colour linocuts. A two-colour vignette is printed on the back. It has very narrow cloth spine. A grey manila slipcase may be ordered with the book.

Jonathan Wonham’s poems spring from his experience on these oil platforms, particularly his time in Northern Scotland, where the loneliness, the fear, even the horror worked itself out in these poems. Each poem describes the scene from a different angle, a different point of view, a small vignette of oil and steel and the human condition.

Steel Horizon, Incline Press, Book in Slipcase
Steel Horizon, Incline Press, Book in Slipcase
Steel Horizon, Incline Press, Title Page
Steel Horizon, Incline Press, Title Page
Steel Horizon, Incline Press, Contents
Steel Horizon, Incline Press, Contents
Steel Horizon, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #1 with Text
Steel Horizon, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #1 with Text
Steel Horizon, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #3 with Text
Steel Horizon, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #2 with Text
Steel Horizon, Incline Press, Colophon
Steel Horizon, Incline Press, Colophon

An Unsolicited Testimonial

This is this fragment of a letter Ben Franklin wrote to John Baskerville, when he was living in London and working as a printer. In it he expresses admiration for Baskerville’s new typeface and refutes what he calls “the prejudice” against it amongst those more accustomed to Caslon. A single-section booklet of 8 pages with a 10 x 6 inch page size. The paper is Zerkall, the type Monotype Baskerville, and the whole is sewn into a stiff card wrapper.

Unsoliitate
An Unsolicited Testimonial, Incline Press, Cover
An Unsolicited Testimonial, Incline Press, Title Page
An Unsolicited Testimonial, Incline Press, Title Page
An Unsolicited Testimonial, Incline Press, Sample Text #1
An Unsolicited Testimonial, Incline Press, Sample Text #1
An Unsolicited Testimonial, Incline Press, Sample Text #2
An Unsolicited Testimonial, Incline Press, Sample Text #2
An Unsolicited Testimonial, Incline Press, type specimens of Baskerville and Caslon types
An Unsolicited Testimonial, Incline Press, type specimens of Baskerville and Caslon types
Incline Press, Colophon
An Unsolicited Testimonial, Incline Press, Colophon

The Days Out, The Weeks Away

Another book of poetry, The Days Out, The Weeks Away, by British poet Ian McMillan, come next. The 32 poems in this book are interspersed with 13 photographs from Ian Beesley, one of Britain’s most respected social documentary photographers. It is printed on Zerkall paper with Joanna types (cast at Hand & Eye). It is 36 pages, and includes nine photographs tipped in and another four printed on the page. Hand-bound. The edition is of 500 numbered copies.

The Days Out, The Weeks Away, Incline Press, Cover
The Days Out, The Weeks Away, Incline Press, Cover
The Days Out, The Weeks Away, Incline Press, Title Page
The Days Out, The Weeks Away, Incline Press, Title Page
The Days Out, The Weeks Away, Incline Press, Copyright
The Days Out, The Weeks Away, Incline Press, Copyright
The Days Out, The Weeks Away, Incline Press, Contents
The Days Out, The Weeks Away, Incline Press, Contents
The Days Out, The Weeks Away, Incline Press, Sample Photograph with Text
The Days Out, The Weeks Away, Incline Press, Sample Photograph with Text
The Days Out, The Weeks Away, Incline Press, Sample Illustration with Text
The Days Out, The Weeks Away, Incline Press, Sample Illustration with Text
The Days Out, The Weeks Away, Incline Press, Colophon
The Days Out, The Weeks Away, Incline Press, Colophon

Handmade Type: Thoughts on the preservation of typographic materials

Handmade Type: Thoughts on the preservation of typographic materials by James Mosley is the next book we take a look at. This is the text, more or less as it was delivered, of the first Justin Howes memorial lecture, which was given at the St Bride Institute on 21 February 2006, just one year after Justin Howes died. James Mosley retired as Librarian of the St Bride Printing Library in 1999, a post he had held since 1958 . He now serves as Visiting Professor in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication at the University of Reading, is on the faculty of the Rare Book School, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, and is a Senior Research Fellow in the Institute of English Studies, University of London. One of the founding members of the Printing Historical Society, he acted as the first editor of its Journal. Mosley has written and lectured extensively on the history of European and English typography. Three hundred and fifty copies of this lecture have been printed on Zerkall Butten paper (from John Purcell Paper Company) using Monotype Caslon cast by Harry McIntosh at Speedspools. The title-page border uses 19th-century Figgins ornaments recast by Stevens Shanks in the 1950s. The book is two sections, 24 pages, 10 x 6 inches, and cased in stiff card with a square spine.

Handmade Type, Incline Press, Cover
Handmade Type, Incline Press, Cover
Handmade Type, Incline Press, Title Page
Handmade Type, Incline Press, Title Page
Handmade Type, Incline Press, Sample Text #1
Handmade Type, Incline Press, Sample Text #1
Handmade Type, Incline Press, Sample Text #2
Handmade Type, Incline Press, Sample Text #2
Handmade Type, Incline Press, Colophon
Handmade Type, Incline Press, Colophon

E.R. Weiss: The Typography of an Artist

Another book focusing on the trade is E.R. Weiss: The Typography of an Artist, by Gerald CinamonEmil Rudolf Weiss, born in 1875, was a painter, illustrator, wood-engraver, graphic designer, and calligrapher. Gerald Cinamon had published his fine book about Rudolf Koch in 2000, so he was an excellent match to write this book. This is a large book, about 14 by 9 inches (35 by 24 cm). The book itself is printed on acid-free Magnani paper from Italy, and a wide variety of archival papers have been used for the samples and tip-ins (mostly Zerkall and Hahnemule Bütten). It is hand bound in the workshop of Stephen Conway, and supplied with a slip-case.  The front board is decorated with a motif drawn by E. R. Weiss, his initials pierced by a quill pen.  The binding style follows that of the magnificent Fest-schrift produced for Weiss’s fiftieth birthday in 1926.  Jan Tschichold was an admirer of Weiss’s book work, so we chose his Sabon type set by Harry MacIntosh in Edinburgh. This was the first book set using his MacTronic 2 computer/Monotype interface. I only have the prospectus, but even from this you get a good idea how excellent of a book this is.

E.R. Weiss, Incline Press, Cover
E.R. Weiss, Incline Press, Prospectus Cover
E.R. Weiss, Incline Press, Opening Page
E.R. Weiss, Incline Press, Prospectus Opening Page
E.R. Weiss, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #1 and Text
E.R. Weiss, Incline Press, Prospectus Sample Illustration #1 and Text
E.R. Weiss, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #2 and Text
E.R. Weiss, Incline Press, Prospectus Sample Illustration #2 and Text

Allow me to now show you a bunch of other work done by Incline Press, including a number of Chapbooks (a lost art, in my opinion), Prospectuses, Broadsides and Ephemera. These are shown without comment, as I think the quality and design speak for itself.

Jorinde and Joringel, Incline Press, Cover
Jorinde and Joringel, Incline Press, Cover
Jorinde and Joringel, Incline Press, Title Page
Jorinde and Joringel, Incline Press, Title Page
Jorinde and Joringel, Incline Press, Sample Illustration and Text
Jorinde and Joringel, Incline Press, Sample Illustration and Text
Jorinde and Joringel, Incline Press, Colophon
Jorinde and Joringel, Incline Press, Colophon
Toad Poems, Incline Press, Cover
Toad Poems, Incline Press, Cover
Toad Poems, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #1 with text
Toad Poems, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #1 with text
Toad Poems, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #2 with text
Toad Poems, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #2 with text
Toad Poems, Incline Press, Colophon
Toad Poems, Incline Press, Colophon
Jabberwocky, Incline Press, Cover
Jabberwocky, Incline Press, Cover
Jabberwocky, Incline Press, Title Page
Jabberwocky, Incline Press, Title Page
Jabberwocky, Incline Press, Sample Text and Illustration
Jabberwocky, Incline Press, Sample Text and Illustration
Jabberwocky, Incline Press, Colophon
Jabberwocky, Incline Press, Colophon
A Garland of Love Songs, Incline Press, Cover
A Garland of Love Songs, Incline Press, Cover
A Garland of Love Songs, Incline Press, Title Page
A Garland of Love Songs, Incline Press, Title Page
A Garland of Love Songs, Incline Press, Sample Text and Decoration
A Garland of Love Songs, Incline Press, Sample Text and Decoration
A Garland of Love Songs, Incline Press, Sample Text and Colophon
A Garland of Love Songs, Incline Press, Sample Text and Colophon
There is a Lady, Incline Press, Cover
There is a Lady, Incline Press, Cover
There is a Lady, Incline Press, Sample Text and Decoration #1
There is a Lady, Incline Press, Sample Text and Decoration #1
There is a Lady, Incline Press, Sample Text and Decoration #2
There is a Lady, Incline Press, Sample Text and Decoration #2
There is a Lady, Incline Press, Colophon
There is a Lady, Incline Press, Colophon
Eat, Drink & Be Merry, Incline Press, Cover
Eat, Drink & Be Merry, Incline Press, Cover
Eat, Drink & Be Merry, Incline Press, Title Page
Eat, Drink & Be Merry, Incline Press, Title Page
Eat, Drink & Be Merry, Incline Press, Sample Illustrations and Text
Eat, Drink & Be Merry, Incline Press, Sample Illustrations and Text
Eat, Drink & Be Merry, Incline Press, Colophon
Eat, Drink & Be Merry, Incline Press, Colophon
A Line (prospectus), Incline Press, Cover
A Line (prospectus), Incline Press, Cover
A Line (prospectus), Incline Press, Sample Illustration
A Line (prospectus), Incline Press, Sample Illustration
A Line (prospectus), Incline Press, Sample Text
A Line (prospectus), Incline Press, Colophon
Making Clothes by Hand, Incline Press, Cover
Making Clothes by Hand, Incline Press, Cover
Making Clothes by Hand, Incline Press, Title Page
Making Clothes by Hand, Incline Press, Title Page
Making Clothes by Hand, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #1 and text
Making Clothes by Hand, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #1 and text
Making Clothes by Hand, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #2 and text
Making Clothes by Hand, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #2 and text
Incline Press Sample 1
Incline Press Sample 1
Incline Press Sample 2
Incline Press Sample 2
Incline Press Sample 3
Incline Press Sample 3
Incline Press Sample 4
Incline Press Sample 4

As you can see, the output from Incline Press is extremely impressive both in quantity and quality. These are thoughtful works, extremely well done, and great examples of “carrying the flame” of hand-done book creation.  It is an important press, and one well worth being represented in your library! What is up next for Incline Press?  According to Mr. Moss, the next is a book of limericks (he mentions “a lot of fun in itself”), then early next year a big book about making a garden in Virginia which he mentions “will be divine!”. I have no doubt it will be.

(All pictures on Books and Vines are exclusively provided, under fair use, to highlight and visualize the review/criticism of the work being reviewed. A side benefit, hopefully, is providing education on the historical and cultural benefits of having a healthy fine press industry and in educating people on the richness that this ‘old school approach’ of book publishing brings to the reading process. Books and Vines has no commercial stake or financial interest in any publisher, retailer or work reviewed on this site and receives no commercial interest or compensation for Books and Vines. Please note that works photographed are copyrighted by the publisher, author and/or illustrator as indicated in the articles. Permission to use contents from these works for anything outside of fair use purposes must come directly from the copyright owner and no permission is granted or implied to use photo’s or material found on Books and Vines for any purpose that would infringe on the rights of the copyright owner.)

11 thoughts on “A Look at the Incline Press

  1. I’ve been waiting for this to appear as well. Graham and Kathy do amazing work at Incline Press and I am fortunate to have a couple of their books in my collection as well. Not only are the books well researched (take a triple look at the Weiss book) but they have a commitment to maintaining the traditional practices of letterpress and Graham’s knowledge here is exceptional as well. On occasions to numerous to count I have witnessed Graham’s delight in helping others who are starting in these “black arts” with suggestions, sharing of resources and honest productive critique. The enthusiasm for letterpress and the history of the craft is infectious and shows in every endeavor.

    In the age of photopolymer letterpress that we now live in it is relatively unique that that all (I believe) of the publications come from metal type composition, a feat that is more difficult in the UK than in the USA merely for lack of services available. The texts are very well printed also with good ink coverage and an even blackness to the page which attest to the skill of the printer and the eye of the compositor – things only experience and practice can achieve. Playful layouts and tipped-in pieces may be a hallmark of Incline but they also indicate the adventurous pushing of personal skills, it’s far to easy to stay in a steady formula for each edition.

    When I had the opportunity to visit Graham and Kathy some years ago on a UK lecture tour it was one of the highlights of my trip. The print shop downstairs, the excellent house marmalades and our mini meeting at Chetham’s combined with keen discussion and general fun will always be fondly remembered.

  2. Chris,

    I’ve been awaiting this post. Graham Moss is a stellar printer, and a kind man to boot. I’ve tried to see Ann Muir’s Harvesting Colour for some time, but it’s never worked out due to a litany of issues. Thank you for providing a glimpse at some of those wonderful works by Incline Press. I own two titles and plan to feature them at some point (and will of course, link to this visual smorgasboard).

    Gleanings is Muir’s followup to Harvesting Colour, and there are a number of other items related to Muir that would be of interest as well. However, what I find particularly striking is Incline’s dedication to supporting the book arts. You can usually buy any of their books in sheets at a discount to bind yourself (sets at a greater discount for bookbinding clubs). They also print a great variety of ephemera (which I love).

    Thanks for featuring Incline Press!
    -Nick

  3. This is a superb article and introduction to a private press I knew little about (my bad ). From the generous selection of works from the Incline Press and the digital photos liberally included throughout this review several things are readily apparent:

    1. Graham Moss puts a great deal of thought and care goes into the book design for each new publication.
    There is no “house” style here; every new publication is an original.

    2. Each book is labor-intensive well beyond the VERY modest prices these books are being offered at.
    The extraordinary number of tipped-in illustrations, wood-engravings, samples of papers, etc., are
    more than any reader or book collector could rightfully expect.

    3. The quality of the handmade papers used in these books is a consistent feature of Incline Press
    publications. For example, many of the books in this article are printed on Magnani papers. The Enrico
    Magnani paper mill of Italy is one of the world’s finest and is usually found only in expensive private
    press books. As a point of reference, Magnani papers were frequently used by Sidney Shiff in the final
    two decades of the Limited Editions Club (USA) as Shiff transformed the LEC from publishing private
    press books for “Everyman” to an exclusive livres d’artiste publishing house. Several of these books
    costing thousands of dollars used Magnani papers.

    4. Few private presses are as adventurous in their use of different typefaces for each new publication.

    As Chris mentioned, the Incline Press is prolific and covers a wide range of topics and interests so that nearly everyone can find a few titles of interest. The Boccaccio book (Minerva, Mantone, and Circes) was an automatic choice for me and Steel Horizon, the poetry book written to express the challenges and loneliness of working the oil rigs in the North Sea is quirky and original, another book that immediately piqued my interest.

    Great review and article of a private press with an unfailing commitment to quality and sweating the details.

  4. Great write up in one if my favourite printers and his prolific press. I’m looking forward to picking up my copy of ER Weiss at this years Oxford Book Fair. Graham’s printing is exceptional and his knowledge of his craft is inspiring. I always look forward to meeting him.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Jamie

  5. Epic haul, Chris! All are exquisite productions. I’m most enamored by the Boccaccio. Thanks so much for sharing.

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