It’s the Holidays — Support the Private and Fine Press Eco-System!

{Ed. Note: This is an annual article encouraging all Books and Vines readers to keep private and fine press publishers and re-sellers in mind this holiday season to be your source for unique, classy and meaningful gifts. The article has been updated with current information and the latest news from private and fine press publishers. Please pass this link on to everyone you know, the more that review, the more potential customers for fine and private press works! Publishers, if you would like me to add you to this article or have something you would like me to add, drop me a note here.}

As the holiday’s quickly approach, it is time to remind all Books and Vines readers about the importance of doing all we can to support those who create and sell the finely done private press books we all admire. In a world awash in digital books and mindless, one size fits all (fonts, designs), throw away, mass produced plunk….what better, thoughtful, unique and meaningful gift is there than hand-made, uniquely designed, carefully crafted books or broadsides from today’s fine private presses? Those receiving such a gift will cherish the tactile sensation from consciously chosen letterpress type on mould-made or hand-made paper, not to mention the exquisite quality of the wood-engravings, lithographs, silkscreens, etchings or photogravures and the hand-done binding design, well thought out and using only the finest of materials. How could they not treasure the thoughtfulness of the giver?!!!  Of course, you yourself deserve such a gift, even if it should come from yourself!

Private and fine press books are not always inexpensive, as they are certainly not inexpensive to produce. None-the-less, if you are planning on spending money on holiday gifts, why not buck the trend of spending money on quickly outdated electronics from soulless multi-billion dollar corporations and instead spend the money on finely done, never outdated, hand-made work from today’s private press printers? I assure you, today’s private presses are not run by billionaires doing this to further line their pockets…no, they are run by men and women who live and breathe type, ink and paper, with renumeration for their efforts barely enough to cover the cost of the beautiful works you get in return.

The poor economy has not only negatively impacted us consumers, but has also made it extremely difficult for private press publishers and fine book resellers. These artists and craftsmen are standing athwart the mindless electronic tide, saving and carrying forward this important cultural skill for future generations while providing the books arts with lasting contributions from this generation to posterity. Those of us who appreciate and embrace the well designed physical book must take responsibility to do all we can to support this fine and private press ecosystem; we have a critical role in ensuring its future. This holiday season, if at all financially feasible, please consider purchases that will help this ecosystem survive.

Books and Vines has a number of links to private presses from which you can find a wide range of fine/private press editions to fit all tastes and budgets. From stunning livres d’artiste books running thousands of dollars, to beautiful smaller works of short stories, poems or broadsides for often well under $100, there is something for everyone.  Keep in mind that many fine and private press publishers offer significant discounts of 20-30% for subscribing to their press. Doing so often pays for itself within 3-4 books (a win for you) while providing the publishers with a more certain revenue stream (win for them). Many of these publishers accept payments over some months, if that helps you out. Whether you subscribe or not, here is just a small sample of many works to choose from this holiday season, combined with an update on what some of my favorite presses are up to (in alphabetical order by press name).

{Ed. Note: Note that most of the book descriptions in what follows have been pulled directly from the web sites of the fine presses, so much of the writing credit goes to them! Errors, on the other hand, are 100% my credit!}

Alberto Tallone Editore

Alberto Tallone Editore was the focus of a Books and Vines article sometime back, in which we looked at their storied history and the great works they have published. Tallone has a number of excellent works available for purchase, a full list of which is here. Two works that would be great gifts this year are:

Grimod de la Reynière‘s Manuel Des Amphitryons – Brilliantly written at the beginning of the 19th century by one of the founders of modern Western gastronomy, the volume celebrates the return to the pleasures of the table after the Reign of Terror, when Arts and Sciences could again flourish in the cultured symposiums both held in private palaces and in the newly-born restaurants. The volume is a rare and precious vademecum for the perfect Host, complete with a series of recipes and the ever-present irony of its nonconformist author, who well knew about the Art of Living, of which the Art of Hosting is, according to Grimod, a very revealing manifestation. If you like the work of Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, you will enjoy this work!

  • Volume of 300 pages entirely set by hand in point 12 Caslon types, cast from the original 18th-century mats
  • Printed on hand-made papers, made of pure cotton in Italy, of which: 200 on laid cream-color Magani paper; 72 on wove ivory-colored Magani paper; 48 on different Fabriano and Magnani pure-cotton papers, either hand-made or made on the round-machine
  • Limited to 320 copies
  • Pricing from 480 Euro’s
Manuel Des Amphitryons, Tallone Editore, Title Page and Frontispiece
Manuel Des Amphitryons, Tallone Editore, Title Page and Frontispiece

Another excellent gift idea would be Carlo Collodi‘s Le Avventure Di Pinocchio – A beautiful, stunning edition of the classic tale of Pinocchio.

  • Integral original version, according to the first edition of 1883, the only one certainly approved by the author
  • Postfaces by Marino Parenti, Piero Scapecchi and Lorenzo Poggi
  • 320 pages set by hand in 14-point Garamond types
  • Engraved by Henri Parmentier in 1910 and cast by Deberny et Peignot in Paris; it is considered one of the most beautiful Garamond renderings and it has been chosen for this edition as a homage to the inspirer of Claude Garamond’s typefaces, Aldus Manutius, whose fifth centenary year will be celebrated in Italy in 2015 (1515-2015)
  • While as a homage to the author’s county of origin, the book is printed on a range of papers made in the Pescia village, in Tuscany, of which Collodi is a hamlet; All of these papers are out of production and of the highest artisan quality
  • A few copies include either an original watercolor drawing by Fulvio Testa, or an original woodcut by Gianni Verna and Gianfranco Schialvino, or an original linocut by Edoardo Fontana
  • Limited to 260 copies
  • Pricing from 290 Euro’s
Le Avventure Di Pinocchio, Tallone Editore, Title Page and Slipcase

Arion Press

Arion Press recently released The Lulu Plays, with 67 drawings by artist William Kentridge bound into the book. The text is the original telling of the Lulu story by playwright Frank Frank Wedekind, which inspired the Alban Berg opera Lulu.

  • 67 drawings by William Kentridge, derived from brush and ink drawings for projections for Kentridge’s 2015 production of Alban Berg’s opera Lulu, which was based on the two Frank Wedekind plays from the turn of the century, Earth Spirit and Pandora’s Box
  • The drawings were printed by four-color offset lithography under the direction of Susan Schaefer
  • Text printed by letterpress, on a two-color Miller cylinder press, in black and in red
  • The types are from the period of the composition of the opera and creation of the Pabst film: Perpetua (1929) and Gill Sans (1928) in Monotype composition, with handset Perpetua, Claudius (1937), and  Neuland (1923) for display
  • Hanemühle Biblio paper
  • The book is handsewn with linen thread over linen tapes, with handsewn silk headbands in black and red, and bound in full gunmetal grey cloth, in a slipcase covered in the same cloth; Both book and slipcase cloth have titling in type and imagery drawn by Kentridge printed by silkscreen, the word “Lulu” on the front cover of the book and a Rorschach of black blood across the sides and back of the slipcase
  • 176 pages, quarto format, 13-1/2″ x 9 1/2″
  • Limited to 400 copies, numbered and signed by the artist
  • Price is $2000 (minus 30% for subscribers)
The Lulu Plays, Arion Press, Frontispiece and Title Page
The Lulu Plays, Arion Press, Frontispiece and Title Page

Another excellent gift would be The Leopard, by Giuseppe Tomasi di LampedusaThe Leopard is considered one of the most important Italian novels ever written, in addition to being the top-selling novel in Italian history. It is certainly one of the greatest historical  novels in world literature, and along with another great Italian work, The Betrothed, really is a ‘must read’ for anyone considering themselves well read and/or for those wanting a real feel for the soul of Italy. In 1963, the book was made into a film by Lucchino Visconti which which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

It is from the set of this film that Arion Press decided to illustrate their fine new edition of The Leopard. Arion Press tells us that “During the filming of The Leopard, a photographer named Giovan Battista Poletto took color photographs on the set. His images are not identical to those in the motion picture Il Gattopardo but show the main characters and key incidents played out at the legendary locations in Sicily. Out of the many photographs taken by Poletto, thirty-two were chosen, to appear throughout the book in proximity to the action, with identifying captions.”

Details of the edition are as follows:

  • Foreword and appendix by Gioacchino Lanza Tomasi (the novelist’s adopted son and literary executor); foreword/appendix translated by Guido Waldman
  • With 32 photographs in color by Giovan Battista Poletto, taken on the set of the 1963 motion picture directed by Lucchino Visconti
  • Translated from the Italian by Archibald Colquhoun
  • The text type is Neo Didot, composed and cast on the Monotype by Mackenzie & Harris, printed in black
  • The display type is Narciss, handset, printed in color
  • The type was printed by letterpress on a Miller two-color cylinder press
  • The color photographs were printed by offset lithography, brokered by Susan Schaefer
  • The paper is Mohawk Superfine
  • The binding shows a coat of arms from Lampedusa’s ancestors in the early eighteenth century with a leaping leopard
  • The book is large octavo in format, 9-5/16 by 6-11/16 inches, 288 pages
  • The edition is limited to 300 copies for sale
  • Price is $700 (minus 30% for subscribers)

I should also mention that Arion Press has previous editions available for a number of titles that would make excellent Christmas presents. This includes The Holy Bible, Animal Farm, Paradise Lost, Tartuffe, Emily Dickinson’s Sampler, Tono-BungayDon QuixoteSapphoThe MoonstonePorgy & BessWhat the End is For (poetry of Jorie Graham) and others (the full list is here, and remember if you subscribe you get 30% off these titles!).

Porgy & Bess, Arion Press, Spine and Covers
Porgy & Bess, Arion Press, Spine and Covers

Barbarian Press

Crispin and Jan Elsted recently released Ingoldsby Legendsan exciting and much anticipated new edition of this Victorian classic with original engravings, here published for the first time, by the famous firm of the Brothers Dalziel (pronounced “dal-iel”) sometime in the 1860’s or 1870’s. This is an important edition due to its inclusion of the never before published Dalziel engravings and the scholarly research and notes which make the work not only entertaining, but intellectually accessible. Not to mention the beauty, charm and quality that all works from the Elsted’s are born with! There are only a few standard state editions left, so move quickly!

  • Designed and hand-set by Crispin Elsted
  • Printed by Jan Elsted
  • Selected and Edited, with an Afterword and Notes, by Crispin Elsted
  • Illustrations printed from the original blocks
  • Hand-set in Poliphilus and Blado with unidentified Victorian initials and Goudy Thirty for display
  • Printed on Heine mouldmade paper, with the engravings tipped in on Zerkall Cream Smooth
  • The books are bound by Alanna Simenson of Mad Hatter Bookbinding; deluxe in Quarter natural calf with patterned paper from ornaments over boards, slipcased with an accompanying portfolio containing strikes of all the engravings, including one not used in the book and a titling block too large to be used; Standard in quarter deep red silk with patterned paper, and not slipcased
  • Deluxe comes with a portfolio printed with the engraved title block, containing strikes of the seven engravings included in the book, with one additional print.
  • 7.5″ x 9.0″, 165 pages
  • Limited to 90 copies, 45 each of Deluxe (sold out) and Standard (C$525.00)
The Ingoldsby Legends, Barbarian Press, Sample Illustration #3 with Text
The Ingoldsby Legends, Barbarian Press, Sample Illustration #3 with Text

Two other works are soon to be released which you could pre-purchase for the holidays. Fancy: 8 Odes of John Keats should be available by year end (in regular state) and also The Splendor of a Morning: Poems by C.P. Cavafy will come sometime reasonably soon after that.  The Keats book will include five of his best-known odes — ‘To a Nightingale’, ‘On a Grecian Urn’, ‘To Autumn’, ‘To Psyche’, and ‘On Melancholy’ — along with three others: the ‘Ode on Indolence’, ‘Fancy’, Ode (Bards of Passion and of Mirth)’. For those who have the Barbarian Press edition of The Eve of St. Agnes, this edition will be in the same format, on the same paper, and using the same typeface. There will be more than a dozen engravings by Andy English, who also illustrated St. Agnes. The Standard state will be quarter bound in red silk with a patterned paper from printer’s ornaments. They is also a Deluxe state, quarter bound in leather and slip-cased with a portfolio of the engravings. The cost is C$430 for the standard state and C$625 for the deluxe state.

The Splendor of a Morning will include a new translation by David Smulders. The Greek text will be printed en face in Jan van Krimpen‘s Antigone, which is being cast by Michael and Winifred Bixler, from a set of matrices newly punched for Barbarian Press by Duncan Avery at the Monotype Corporation in London. The English text will probably be set in Lutetia, and the display in Open Kapitalen, both also designed by Jan van Krimpen. The paper will be Zerkall Book White Wove. There will be five engravings by Peter Lazarov. There will be a Standard and Deluxe edition, the Deluxe including a portfolio of the engravings. Jan and Crispin Elstead mention, in their subscriber letter, that they are considering a split-board binding with a leather spine, and are discussing ideas for paste paper for the Deluxe copies with Hélène Francoeur. Pricing has yet to be determined.

Barbarian Press also is in the midst of an Indiegogo funding campaign to print and publish a book to be called Bordering on the Sublime: Ornamental Typography at the Curwen Press. As said on the campaign page:

The book will describe, celebrate, and display a significant area of printing history in the 20th century: the ornamented borders of one of England’s most distinguished trade publishers, The Curwen Press, which existed from 1863 until 1984. The press was well known for its artistic designs, and in particular, for its original and exquisite use of type flowers and ornamented borders.

Crispin and Jan Elsted go on to say:

A few years ago, we were lucky enough to acquire the type for over 100 of these borders in their original state, ready for printing. Our plan is to reprint these borders using the original standing type, and to create new patterns with the individual type flowers as well, some of them recreating Curwen borders for which the type has been distributed. The book will include essays describing the history and special virtues of this unique press, and other information about the history of typographical ornaments. This book will bring the beautiful work of the Curwen Press to light again, and will remind us how much can be achieved when fine design and craftsmanship work together.

There is a wealth or information on the funding site that you will find very interesting and illuminating, including a video, a large number of pictures, much more information on the project, the use and need for the funding, the fantastic perks being offered for donating (now including three-day workshop experiences at Barbarian Press as well as opportunities to spend an afternoon in the pressroom), etc.  Please take a look! As a subscriber to Barbarian Press, I can attest to the superb quality of all that the Elsteds publish, both from a craft perspective as well as from a scholarly perspective. This book will be beautiful, interesting and important.

Lastly, Endgrain Editions Four: Simon Brett – an Engraver’s Progress is the first addition to the Endgrain Editions since 2003, and it is a major return to the series, a celebration of the work of Simon Brett over fifty years as an engraver. Comprising over 130 engravings printed from the wood, an introduction by the artist, and a chronological catalogue of the over 1,000 engravings Simon has so far engraved. This is a major work of 250 pages, and really is fantastic. Here is a review of it, with plenty of pictures. The Deluxe copies are now out of print, but there are still a few Regular copies available. Pricing is C$990.00.

Simon Brett, an Engraver's Progress, Frontispiece and Title Page
Simon Brett, an Engraver’s Progress, Frontispiece and Title Page

With the works mentioned above, you may want to think about subscribing, which entitles you to a significant 30% discount. You can contact Barbarian Press here.

Deep Wood Press

Chad Pastotnik is nearing completion of an edition of  Franz Kafka’s short story The Hunter Gracchus. Mr. Pastotnik has been looking forward to doing this work for a couple decades now. He has secured the services of German-English literary translator, Jamie Lee Searle, to produce a new translation for this edition. Mr. Pastotnik illustrates with intaglio prints. Currently the edition is to be set at around 60 books. This will go quickly. I am not aware of pricing yet, but will update when I find out. Contact him to reserve one now!

The Hunter Gracchus, Deep Wood Press, Sample Page from prototype
The Hunter Gracchus, Deep Wood Press, Sample Page from prototype

There are a number of other books and broadsides in print, all of which make great gifts at excellent price points (see here for the full list).   This includes The Mad Angler Poems, by Michael Delp, illustrated with 5 hand colored wood engravings by Chad Pastotnik and an introduction by Jack Driscoll. The regular edition is quarter-bound in heavy board in a brown Harmatan Moroccan goat with a cotton/linen Asahi book cloth. Gold title on spine with a varnished panel on the cover cloth overprinted with the brown drake fly wood engraving and Mocha Hahnemuhle Bugra flyleaves back up the book blocks which are hand sewn on straps. The book is composed in 11 pt  Janson with Garamond in display sizes and printed in 2 colors on Magnani Revere cotton 120gsm paper. 8 7/8 x 6 7/8 x 1/2 inches, 33 pages. Edition of 71 books. The standard edition is $350.

Regular edition of The Mad Angler Poems
Regular edition of The Mad Angler Poems

Another excellent gift idea is Saturnalia, a poem by H.P. Lovecraft regarding a holiday for the Feast of Saturn in ancient Rome which traditionally begins around December 15th. The book includes beautiful bits of verse suitable for the holidays or any time of year and is a very nice example of Howard Phillip Lovecraft’s early poetry. Handset in 14pt Freehand type with Menu Shaded on the title page and printed on Hahnemuhle Schiller paper from Germany. Original collagraph image and border design by Chad Pastotnik. Pamphlet stitched with 450gsm (heavy) Twinrocker Micah Rose covers, a heavy Arches Black spine, printed washi eastern pattern flyleaves and silver foil stamped title on the cover. Second edition of 60 copies, $30.

Saturnalia, Deep Wood Press
Saturnalia, Deep Wood Press

You can contact Deep Wood Press here.

The Fleece Press

Simon Lawrence’s The Fleece Press has a number of excellent works available for purchase (see here). Here are some samples:

Ravilious for Curwen – An edition of one of Eric Ravilious‘ best engravings, printed from the block. The original block of Eric Ravilious’ jazzy, geometric cover engraving made in 1933 for the Curwen Press News-Letter No. 6 (printed 1934), will be printed in an edition of 120 copies during November, with an accompanying letterpress booklet. The original block will be used to make the print, while the original Curwen electrotype will be printed as the booklet’s frontispiece. There is a short letterpress text, and stunning marbled wrappers by Jemma Lewis. Price is £90 (£80 trade) plus postage £5, and VAT (totaling £114 in the UK).

Ravilious for Curwen, Fleece Press
Ravilious for Curwen, Fleece Press

The Bliss Story: Douglas Percy Bliss and Phyllis Dodd, by Malcolm Yorke – While Douglas Percy Bliss wrote kindly and perceptively several decades ago about his friend Edward Bawden (for a book published by the Pendomer Press), and earlier in his career took up the pen to write about Eric Ravilious and the emerging engravers of the 1920s, no-one has written comprehensively about Bliss himself, who was a notable engraver, teacher and – especially – landscape painter; the same applies to his wife Phyllis Dodd. Malcolm Yorke has written several fine books for this Press and his study of Bliss, of Phyllis (a fine portrait painter) and the succeeding generation of artistic Blisses, will be another important book. Publication in process. I will let you know pricing when I am made aware of such.

Pen, paper & a box of paints: Albert Rutherston’s work in theatre design and book illustration, by Ian Rogerson – Albert Rutherston is well known as a distinctive book illustrator whose work benefited from the pochoir process employed by the Curwen Press. He illustrated many books and for a short period before the First World War had a profound influence on theatre and stage costume design, though he chose not to pursue this. There has been no book on his work until now. Ian Rogerson has made a special study of Albert’s work, whose grandchildren have also been able to provide reference material which makes the book especially interesting. The book runs to 196 pages and displays 115 illustrations, in an edition of 250 copies; price £184.  

Mr Kilburn’s Calicos is the story of a pattern book for calico printing designs made by William Kilburn, dated 1800. It survived because it was subsequently used by a great grandson for pasting in childish scraps. Letterpress introduction, 300 copies housed in a solander box with an extra booklet of fully-made-up patterns based on the units in the pattern book. The book was featured over 5 full pages in the October issue of World of Interiors. £175. See here for more details.

Mr Kilburn's Calicos, The Fleece Press
Mr Kilburn’s Calicos, The Fleece Press

You can contact The Fleece Press here.

The Folio Society, Limited Editions

The Folio Society continues its phenomenal series of Limited Edition books, providing a number of works that belong on the shelves of collectors everywhere.  Their brilliant Letterpress Shakespeare, each printed letterpress in 16-point Baskerville on thick, mould-made paper and bound in leather with hand-marbled boards, will excite even the most stringent private press collector (the editions are simple, elegant and a pleasure to read), while many other of their productions, while not letterpress, are extremely impressive in their own right and are extremely well done fine press books.  For instance, the Pearl Manuscript (British Library MS Cotton Nero A.x), the sole source for the poems ‘Pearl‘, ‘Cleanness‘, ‘Patience‘ and ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight‘ and one of the most important texts in medieval English literature, is produced in a gorgeous facsimile of the original.  Pricing is $595.

  • 6¾” × 5″
  • 184 pages
  • Printed on Arctic Volume Ivory
  • Bound in Indian Goatskin
  • Gold foil blocked on front and spine
  • Tinted page edges
  • Ribbon marker

With a companion volume:

  • 9½” × 6¾”
  • 536 pages
  • Typeset in Minion Pro
  • Printed on Munken Wove
  • Bound in buckram
The Pearl Manuscript, The Folio Society, Sample Page
The Pearl Manuscript, The Folio Society, Sample Page

Folio’s hand-bound edition of Anthony Trollope’s The Duke’s Children with the complete text restored from the original manuscript is another fantastic edition.  This features hand-marbling on all three page edges by Jemma Lewis and 22-carat gold blocking on the binding. Pricing is $330, or $670 for the hand-bound edition.

  • 9½” x 6¼”
  • 720 pages
  • Typeset in Miller
  • Printed on Caxton Wove
  • Hand-marbled endpapers by Jemma Lewis
  • Half-bound in Indian Goatskin with cloth sides
  • Blocked on front, back and spine
  • Four raised bands
  • Leather titling label on spine
  • Gilded on top edge
  • Ribbon marker

With a companion volume:

  • 9½” x 6¼”
  • 160 pages
  • Typeset in Miller
  • Printed on Caxton Wove
  • Frontispiece portrait of Anthony Trollope by Julia Margaret Cameron
  • Endpapers printed with pages from the original manuscript
  • Bound in cloth blocked on front and spine
  • Ribbon marker


The Duke's Children, The Folio Society
The Duke’s Children, The Folio Society

Another favorite of the limited editions currently available is the Selected Poems of Rupert Brooke designed to emulate the fine press editions of the early 20th century. Published to commemorate the centenary of the poet’s tragic early death, this edition is set in Monotype Walbaum by Stan Lane at Gloucester Typesetting Services and printed letterpress at The Stonehouse Fine Press.  Nine original lithographs by Ed Kluz have been printed, under the artist’s supervision, by Andrew Curtis at Curwen Studio. The paper is Zerkall mould-made smooth and the book was bound in Vicenza by LEGO with paste-paper sides by Victoria Hall which are tactile heaven! The Rupert Brooke poems is a delightful 9¾” x 7”. It is priced at $330.

Selected Poems of Rupert Brooke, The Folio Society
Selected Poems of Rupert Brooke, The Folio Society

Just being released in the next month or so, Folio’s much anticipated Alice in Wonderland with illustrations by Charles van Sandwyk.  The edition is bound in vellum with vellum tips and case sides of Merida paper blocked in four foils, the frontispiece etching is signed and numbered by the artist, there is around 50 line drawings and eleven plates, printed full colour and tipped in place within decorative gold borders. The endpapers have been printed letterpress on Hahnemühle Bugra Butten laid paper and nine ‘scraps’ have been printed full colour on Art paper, individually cut out and tipped in throughout the book. The top edge is gilded, the spine blocked in 24-carat gold and the whole presented in a solander box bound in Paradise cloth, lined with Hahnemühle Bugra Butten and with a titling label on the spine blocked in two colours on laid paper.  This should be ready in January and is priced at $865.

  • Limited to 1,000 copies
  • Illustrated by Charles van Sandwyk
  • 13″ x 9¾”
  • 172 pages
  • Limitation spread blocked in two colours on two shades of Hahnemühle Bugra Butten laid paper, inset with an etching hand-printed under the artist’s supervision on Somerset Velvet Buff hand-made paper; signed and numbered by the artist
  • Eleven plates printed in full colour with gold borders on Art paper, tipped into the text within ornamental gold borders
  • Nine ‘scraps’ printed in full colour on Art paper, individually cut out and tipped in place
  • Set in Founders Caslon types, with hand-drawn initials and circa 50 line-drawings; printed in warm black and gold inks on Ambassador Cream twin-wire laid paper
  • Endpapers printed letterpress in dark red ink on Hahnemühle Bugra Butten laid paper
  • Bound in vellum with vellum tips, blocked on the spine in 24-carat gold
  • Case sides blocked in four foils on Merida paper
  • Gilded top edge
Alice in Wonderland, The Folio Society, Cover and Spine
Alice in Wonderland, The Folio Society, Cover and Spine
Alice in Wonderland, The Folio Society, Sample Illustration
Alice in Wonderland, The Folio Society, Sample Illustration

Also exciting, coming soon will be a facsimile of H.G.Wells short stories, The Door in the Wall which was published in 1911 and illustrated with original photogravures by Alvin Langdon Coburn. The typeface was specially created for the book by Bertha Goudy and the original from which the facsimile will be created is a thing of loveliness indeed! More details will be forthcoming.

The Door in the Wall, The Folio Society, Sample Illustration
The Door in the Wall, The Folio Society, Sample Illustration

For questions or ordering The Folio Society Limited editions, contact them here.

Foolscap Press

Foolscap Press has two books on Holiday Special (from Nov 15 – Dec 25), both which I own personally and highly recommend!

The Tower of the Winds is a scroll book which traces the history of an amazing tower in Athens (1st C. B.C.) that still stands. It is illustrated from 18th-century engravings. The scroll measures an astounding 11 inches by 25 feet in length!  The papers are Zerkall Book and hand-made papyrus from Egypt. The typeface is Adobe Herculanum printed letterpress on a Hacker Hand Press. The reproductions of the tower are from the remarkable artwork of James Stuart and Nicolas Revett, the British architects whose written description and exquisite drawings inspired a new architecture in England and influenced Thomas Jefferson and others in America. The scroll cases were produced at the press from dyed, hand-shaped Arches paper. Each case is a rigid cylinder that is hinged with cloth and is lined with a map of ancient Athens. The edition is limited to 200 numbered copies and is specially priced at $300.

Tower in the Winds, Foolscap Press
The Tower in the Winds, Foolscap Press

A Dog’s Life in Letters is an alphabet book containing poems by Lawrence G. Van Velzer and the linoleum cut illustrations by Peggy Gotthold. The book is 64 pages and measures 6 5/8 inches tall x 5 1/8 inches wide and is printed letterpress on Curtis Holcomb Cream text and hand-bound at the Press.  This book is published in an edition of 200 numbered copies and is specially priced at $100.

A Dog's Life in Letters, Foolscap Press
A Dog’s Life in Letters, Foolscap Press

Foolscap Press has a few copies left of their main 2015 publications, both previously reviewed on Books and Vines, as follows:

The Story of the Fisherman may be my favorite single new book of 2015!  The Story of the Fisherman is taken from the One Thousand and One Nights (also known as the Arabian Nights), using the translation by Edward William Lane (1801-1876). The first thing that grabs you about this edition is the design, coloring and format. The accordion fold binding allows for some spectacular panorama’s of the colorful illustrations by artist Brian Bowes. Here is details of the production.

  • Designed, printed and bound by Peggy Gotthold and Lawrence G. Van Velzer
  • The Story of the Fisherman is taken from the Arabian Nights and is translated by Edward William Lane(1801-1876)
  • 18 pen and ink drawings, including the hand-colored illustrated title page, by Brian Bowes
  • Illustrations are printed via polymer plates (made by Richard Seibert) and done via pochoir (stencils made by Mark Knudsen)
  • The illustration on the front and back covers is based on an illuminated page from a Koran made for Sultan Uljaytu Hamadan in 1313 by Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-Hamadani
  • Type set in Legend, a type designed in 1937 by F.H. Schneidler for the Bauer Type Foundry
  • Printed on Lettra Pearl White from Crane & Co.
  • Hand bound at the press
  • Housed in a cloth covered box with a neodymium magnet to hold the front flap shut
  • 9 7/8 tall x 8 5/16 wide, 80 pages
  • Limited to 117 numbered copies, of which 101 are for sale, and is signed by the artist Brian Bowes
  • Price is $775 plus shipping (minus 20% for subscribers)
The Story of the Fisherman, Foolscap Press, Title Page (with hand colored illustration)
The Story of the Fisherman, Foolscap Press, Title Page (with hand colored illustration)
The Story of the Fisherman, Foolscap Press, Sample Illustration #9
The Story of the Fisherman, Foolscap Press, Sample Illustration

The St. John’s Fragment Against the Odds is a collaboration with calligrapher Thomas Ingmire and British poet David Annwn. The poem was made in response to St. John’s Fragment, an amazing small piece of papyrus held at the Rylands Library at the University of Manchester. It is dated from between 100 CE and 150 CE and is generally accepted as the earliest extant record of a canonical New Testament text. Mr. Ingmire has recreated the shape and text of the fragment in English and Greek.

The Saint John's Fragment - Against the Odds, Foolscap Press, Spine and Covers
The Saint John’s Fragment – Against the Odds, Foolscap Press, Spine and Covers

Upcoming in 2016, Foolscap Press is currently having handmade paper made under the direction of Timothy Barrett at the University of Iowa. This will be for a medieval travel book. The book will feature pages modeled on early illustrated texts.

Contact Foolscap Press here.

Gaylord Schanilec/Midnight Paper Sales

At the 2014 Manhattan Fine Press Book Fair early this year, I saw some of Gaylord Schanilec‘s work on his Lac Des Pleurs. It is fair to say it seems to be amongst the most stunning fine press work I have ever seen. Only a few copies remain, although some of the beautiful prints are available also.

Gaylord Schanilec/Midnight Paper Sales At the 2014 Manhattan Fine Press Book Fair early this year, I saw some of Gaylord Schanilec‘s work on his Lac Des Pleurs. It is fair to say it seems to be amongst the most stunning fine press work I have ever seen. Only a few copies remain, althou
Lac Des Pleurs, Gaylord Schanilec, Sample Map and Illustration

Report From Pool Four contains the poems written while out on the water working on Lac Des Pleurs. The book is 8 x 6 inches with 24 pages. 200 numbered copies. 2 two-color wood engravings by Gaylord Schanilec. Signed by the author. Handset in Bembo type. Printed on Zerkall paper with hand-made cover paper by Amanda Degener and Briget O’Malley of Cave Paper. In a slipcase.  Only a few left and priced well at $120.

Report From Pool Four
Report From Pool Four, Gaylord Schanilec

Plunging is a favorite of Mr. Schanilec. Edwidge Danticat‘s poem was inspired by the tragic fall of an immigrant construction worker into wet concrete he had just laid in Bal Harbour, Florida’s most fashionable destination. His wallet contained pictures of his daughter and two single dollar bills. The binding of the deluxe is particularly nice with it’s leather spine and for edge. They had been listed as “out of print” for some time on the website, but a couple were recently found. The book is about 5 1/2 x 7 inches with 20 pages. 115 standard and 26 lettered copies. 2 multi-color wood engravings by Gaylord Schanilec. Signed by the author and the artist. Handset in Walbaum monotype. The standard is printed on Printed on Mohawk Superfine, and Zerkall papers. The deluxe is printed on Twin Rocker handmade and Zerkall mould made papers. The standard is bound in cloth and slipcased. The deluxe is bound in blue quarter morocco by Gregor Campbel with Cave handmade paper and morocco fore edges with two single dollar bills laid in. In a clamshell box. The standard is priced at $140, the deluxe at $390.

Plunging, Gaylord Schanilec
Plunging, Gaylord Schanilec

There also remains a few copies of  The Bicycle Diaries, offered at a Christmas discount ($225, off from the normal $300). The Bicycle Diaries is a very personal account that documents the process of one New Yorker, among 19 million, dealing with the World Trade Center tragedy: from the initial shock through the process of returning to some sense of normalcy.  The standard edition is 5¾ x 9 ¼ inches with 111 pages. There are 224 copies. It contains 7 color wood engravings by Gaylord Schanilec. The text composition-set is in Emerson monotype and is printed on Zerkal mould-made paper. It is bound in cloth at the Campbell-Logan Bindery.

The Bicycle Diaries, Gaylord Schanilec
The Bicycle Diaries

Please do check out Mr. Schanilec’s web store for a full listing of books, broadsides and prints available.

Hand and Eye Editions

Phil Abel has just published Charles DickensA Christmas Carol, illustrated by Angela Barrett (who also illustrated their fantastic Jekyll and Hyde). I just received mine this past week, and will soon have an article reviewing it…but don’t wait, this will go quickly (just look at those illustrations!). Some details of the book:

  • Designed by Webb & Webb Design Ltd
  • Typesetting and printing by Hand & Eye Letterpress Ltd in Monotype Walbaum and Old Face Open
  • Bound by Smith Settle Ltd
  • Limited to 310 copies
    • 60 are hand-colored (only 50 for sale) and are printed on Somerset Book Paper (£285)
    • 250 are printed on Mohawk Superfine paper (£175)
Hand & Eye Editions, A Christmas Carol, Sample Illustration
Hand & Eye Editions, A Christmas Carol, Sample Illustration
Hand & Eye Editions, A Christmas Carol, Sample Illustration
Hand & Eye Editions, A Christmas Carol, Sample Illustration

Up next for Hand & Eye will be  ‘Dear Edward’, a selection of the correspondence between Edward Bawden and Peyton Skipwith. Skipwith was Bawden’s dealer for the last twenty years of his life and is his literary executor. Such a long relationship between artist and gallery is rare these days, and the revolution in communications means that a correspondence like this may never be seen again. Details forthcoming.

Contact Hand & Eye here.

Incline Press

I just received the latest from Graham Moss, David Blamire’s new book on the naming of cats titled When in Doubt, Wash.  The book has seven nice wood engravings by Christ Daunt. Each engraving shows a different named breed of cat. Uniform with Incline’s series of cat poems, the 48-page book is 11 by 8 inches, printed on archival quality Zerkall paper using 12 pt Bell type with Bold Madonna for display, as above. The edition is of 240 copies. Forty of those copies are specials and include an additional portfolio of the wood engravings. The standard edition is case-bound in an original 1946 Curwen patterned paper designed by Elizabeth Friedlander over boards and a cloth spine. The deluxe edition displays a newly designed patterned paper by Kiran Ravilious for the book, the slipcase and the portfolio. The standard edition is nicely priced from £75, with the deluxe priced from £144.

When in Doubt, Wash, Incline Press, Covers and Spine
When in Doubt, Wash, Incline Press, Covers and Spine
When in Doubt, Wash, Incline Press, Title Page
When in Doubt, Wash, Incline Press, Title Page
When in Doubt, Wash, Incline Press, Sample Illustration and Text
When in Doubt, Wash, Incline Press, Sample Illustration and Text

Another work that may be of interest is The Long Journey, a book of poems by Robert Louis Stevenson. The core of the book is the nine poems that Ralph Vaughan Williams set to music, as sung by the Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel on The Vagabond CD (issued by Deutsche Gramafon), to which Mr. Moss added poems chosen from all that Stevenson published, so the book begins with songs of childhood from his Child’s Garden of Verses, and ends naturally enough with the epitaph he wrote that is engraved on his tomb, and on that long journey the poems looks at success, growth and friendship, as well as poverty’s knock. It’s illustrated with two-colour wood engravings by Robin Mackenzie; his first book, but it won’t be his last as far as Incline Press is concerned, and they are already discussing what they might collaborate on in the future. Set in 16pt Lutetia and again on Zerkall 160gsm paper, bound in-house using the last of a Curwen Press patterned paper designed in the late 1940s by Sarah Nechemkin, edition total of 175 copies, about eleven inches tall and seven wide. There is a special of forty copies that include a portfolio of black prints of the wood engravings. Regular edition from £54 and the special from £96.

Layers of Concord: The creation of the landscape garden at Le Berceau, by Carole George, looks to be a superb work. An edition of 170 copies, Layers of Concord is set in Monotype Centaur. Thirteen and one-half inches tall by ten inches wide, it is 70-pages in length. It is illustrated with photographs by Eduardo Galliani and includes a full-page map drawn by Abigail Rorer, after a visit to the garden. Bound in paper over board, it is housed in a slipcase.  Priced from from £175.

Layers of Concord, Incline Press, Sample Photograph
Layers of Concord, Incline Press, Sample Photograph

Mr. Moss has many other excellent works to consider, all fairly priced.  See here. See this review from Books and Vines for a sampling of his works, many of which are available.

Contact Mr. Moss at Incline Press here.

Limited Editions Club

Jeanne Shiff has always been absolutely wonderful to Books and Vines. I am thrilled to have met her a number of times, and to have all the editions of what Limited Editions Club (LEC) collectors call “the Shiff era” — an LEC era in which livres d’artist was the focus, and all works were done with the absolute best materials by the absolute best craftsmen and artists. Any of these books are the centerpiece of any room they happen to be in, as the grand style (and often grand size) draw wonderment and exclamations of oohs and ahhs. Ms. Shiff has a number of books available, a complete list of which is here. These are heirlooms, true works of art!  Here are a few examples, all of which are available.

The Man Who Planted Trees, by Jean Giono. Taking place in the first half of the twentieth century, The Man who Planted Trees tells the tale of a shepherd living a lonely life in the sparsely populated foothills of the Alps in Provence who takes it upon himself to re-forest an area that has long been treeless and desolate. Seed by seed, this man spends decades cultivating trees and turning what was a barren landscape into a sort of Garden of Eden. Over time, families move back to the area and what was once a forgotten wasteland is now an optimistic valley, full of life.

This edition of The Man who Planted Trees defines what fine/private press means. The binding, one of the most beautiful and unique of the LEC library, was hand bound in mulberry tree back by Carol Joyce at her Academy Bindery. The tree-free paper used for the text pages is mould-made Magnani paper (from Pescia, Italy) made from all rag silk and cotton fibers. Similarly for the gravures, mould-made Arches paper (from Epinal, France), made from all rag silk and cotton fibers, is used. The typographic treatment from Michael Bixler is marvelous (just see the examples below, especially look at the bite in Macro #2 of Sample Text #1). For font, he used English Garamond No. 156, which was created in 1922 by Stanley Morison. Last but certainly not least, the photographs from photographer Martine Franck (1938-2012) are beautiful; in fact, mesmerizing. Jon Goodman shows once again that he is the master of photogravure.

The Man Who Planted Trees, Limited Editions Club, Spine and Covers
The Man Who Planted Trees, Limited Editions Club, Spine and Covers
The Man Who Planted Trees, Limited Editions Club, Frontispiece and Title Page
The Man Who Planted Trees, Limited Editions Club, Frontispiece and Title Page

Poems of Frank O’Hara with an Introduction by Riva Castlman and lithographs by Willem De Kooning. Seventeen of de Kooning’s charcoal drawings are reproduced here for the first time as originally intended‑-with their subtle strokes and wide tonal range. De Kooning’s drawings were transferred from their original mylar sheets to lithographic plates and printed on hand­-made ochre‑tinted Kitakata paper. Each print was torn by hand and pressed into the book’s pages by the intaglio method. The thirteen poems begin with O’Hara’s Ode to Willem de Kooning.  This is a huge volume at 17-3/4″ x 22″! Bound in black Nigerian goatskin, the book is set in a black fabric covered and lined case. It is limited to 550 copies and  sells for $3,000. A review from Books and Vines is here.

Poems of Frank O’Hara, Sample Text Page with Illustration
Poems of Frank O’Hara, Sample Text Page with Illustration

Sight and Touch by Octavio Paz with color woodcut prints by the great artist Balthus. What a stunning work of art this is!  The poem is presented in the original Spanish, in English and in French. It is very large at 22-1/2” x 23-1/2, and contains three color woodcut prints by Balthus. The three Balthus paintings have been turned into multicolor woodcuts by Keiji Shinohara and printed on Kozo Uwazen paper made by hand in Japan. The text is set in a Monotype version of Lutetia–sharp and brilliant in cut, crisp and contemporary in feeling. The boards are covered with pure linen on the sides, overlapped on the spine with Nigerian oasis goatskin. Set in a linen covered and lined case. The edition limited to three hundred numbered copies, with each book signed by Balthus and Octavio Paz. It sells for $2700. A review from Books and Vines is here.

Letter From Birmingham City Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr. with eight serigraph prints by Faith Ringgold, and an afterword by Dr. C. T. Vivian.  Another large size book at 14-1/2” x 12-1/4”, it is stunning! Printed letterpress on handmade paper, this edition is limited to 420 numbered copies. The prints were edtitioned by Curlee Holton at his studio in Easton, Pennsylvania. The book is hand bound in red linen, with the same fabric covering its hinged and lined case. The edition limited to four hundred twenty numbered copies with each signed by Faith Ringgold. It sells for $5,000.

Letter From Birmingham City Jail ~ Martin Luther King, Jr. ~ Eight Serigraph Prints by Faith Ringgold, Afterword by Dr. C. T. Vivian
Letter From Birmingham City Jail ~ Martin Luther King, Jr. ~ Eight Serigraph Prints by Faith Ringgold, Afterword by Dr. C. T. Vivian

The Revelation of Saint John the Divine by John of Patmos with fifteen relief engravings by Allan Rohan Crite. The volume clocks in at 16″ x 22”. Mr. Crite’s relief engravings were printed on Japanese paper and mounted on heavy paper handmade in Pescia Italy. Typographical design is by Dan Carr, who drew the verse numerals and cast them by hand into punches for typesetting. The volume is hand bound in burgundy linen. The hinged box, covered in black Italian cotton, is inset with Nigerian goatskin bearing the title stamped in 22‑karat gold. The edition limited to four hundred numbered copies with each signed by Allan Rohan Crite. It sells for $1500. A review from Books and Vines is here.

The Revelation of Saint John the Divine, John of Patmos, Engravings by Allan Rohan Crite
The Revelation of Saint John the Divine, John of Patmos, Engravings by Allan Rohan Crite

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë with fifteen lithographs and an afterword by Balthus.  The volume size is 12-3/4” x 16-1/2”. The Balthus drawings have been turned into lithographic plates and printed, in brown‑toned black ink, on fine Japanese paper by Bruce Porter at his Trestle Editions in New York City.  They were mounted on mould made paper from the Arches mill, in Epinal, France.  The text was also printed on this paper, uniquely watermarked with the coat of arms of the family Klossowski de Rola.  The book is bound in Nigerian goatskin dyed gray-green to suggest the Yorkshire moors. Linen covered and lined case. The edition limited to three hundred numbered copies with each book signed by Balthus. The price is $4800. A review from Books and Vines is here.

Withering Heights, Balthus
Wuthering Heights, Balthus

Sunrise Is Coming After While by Langston Hughes with six color silkscreen prints by Phoebe Beasley with an introduction and afterword by Maya Angelou.  Maya Angelou selected the poems and the artist, as well as wrote the introduction and the afterword! This is another grand LEC production at 16” x 21”.  The binding is purple cotton and the book and prints come a hinged and lined black cotton covered box. The edition limited to three hundred numbered copies with each book signed by Maya Angelou and Phoebe Beasley. The price is $1500.

Sunrise Is Coming After While ~ Langston Hughes ~ Six Color Silkscreen Prints by Phoebe Beasley with Introduction and Afterword by Maya Angelou
Sunrise Is Coming After While ~ Langston Hughes ~ Six Color Silkscreen Prints by Phoebe Beasley with Introduction and Afterword by Maya Angelou

If you search on Books and Vines you will find reviews of most of the Shiff-era LEC’s. Please contact Ms. Shiff directly with interest or questions, from which you may also discover some excellent holiday specials for Books and Vines readers, including on the works mentioned above!

Nawakum Press

David Pascoe’s Nawakum Press is producing some of the greatest fine press books today. Their work just keeps getting better and better! Limitations are very small, so if you see something you like, I suggest moving quick!  Here is a complete list of their works.

Newly available is a co-publication with Richard Wagener‘s Mixolydian Press just became available, titled Trading Eights, The Faces of Jazz. Trading Eights, The Faces of Jazz is an exploration into jazz culture, where the music is played, and those who played it so well. Jazz is improvisation, and this edition brings forth that same spontaneity in portraying the smoky back rooms where jazzmen were kings. Deeply personal, it shares a vision of this unique style of music through the eyes of an artist, music historian and poet.

Trading Eights, The Faces of Jazz is sixty-four pages and measures 9 inches by 14 inches. The typefaces are Ehrhardt and Janson, cast in lead by Patrick Reagh. The text is printed by Richard Wagener and Patrick Reagh. The binding is French Chagreen quarter goatskin, with blue-black and grey paste papers over boards. The work includes portraits of eight iconic jazz figures, engraved by James G. Todd Jr., an innovator in the field of wood engraving. Accompanying these penetrating engravings are words from jazz pianist and writer Ted Gioia, author of The History of Jazz, and poetry from his brother Dana Gioia, poet and former Chairman for the National Endowment for the Arts. Wood engraver Richard Wagener has printed each portrait from the original blocks.

Trading Eights, The Faces of Jazz is co-published in one state, in an edition of fifty-five. Forty copies are for sale and signed by the author, poet, and artist. The price is $975.

Trading Eights, The Faces of Jazz, Mixolydian Press and Nawakum Press, Cover
Trading Eights, The Faces of Jazz, Mixolydian Press and Nawakum Press, Cover
Trading Eights, The Faces of Jazz, Mixolydian Press and Nawakum Press, Frontispiece and Title Page
Trading Eights, The Faces of Jazz, Mixolydian Press and Nawakum Press, Frontispiece and Title Page

A major production from Nawakum Press, Encheiresin Naturae,”One heroic crown of sonnets” by Irish poet Paul Muldoon, professor at Princeton University, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and Poetry Editor of The New Yorker magazine, with fifteen abstract engravings by the great American artist/illustrator Barry Moser is available.

Fifteen abstract relief engravings were invented and engraved by Moser in his studio in Hatfield, Massachusetts in 2014. They were inspired by the phrase encheiresin naturae taken from his reading of Goethe’s Faust, referencing an alchemist’s many experiments in “manipulating nature.” Muldoon was asked to respond to the images poetically, and he chose an advanced form of a crown of sonnets, known as a sonnet redoublé, or heroic crown of sonnets for his tour-de-force response.

Encheiresin Naturae is seventy-six pages and measures 14″ by 18-1/4″. The paper is mouldmade Zerkall and Twinrocker handmade. The binding is half leather with marbled paper over boards. The drop spine box is covered with scarlet Japanese cloth and features a small, embedded, hand-hammered and annealed copper plate. Three prints from the book are housed in a Saint-Armand handmade paper chemise. Published in an edition of fifty copies, forty of which are numbered and for sale. Priced at $5700.

Encheiresin Naturae, Nawakum Press, Cover
Encheiresin Naturae, Nawakum Press, Cover
Encheiresin Naturae, Nawakum Press, Cover
Encheiresin Naturae, Nawakum Press, Frontispiece and Cover Page
Encheiresin Naturae, Nawakum Press, Sample Text and Illustration
Encheiresin Naturae, Nawakum Press, Sample Text and Illustration

Outside, by Barry Lopez, Illustrations by Barry Moser, reviewed here by Books and Vines. Thirty-five copies, in a rounded and backed lap-case binding. The spine is rust Asahi book cloth and the sides are marbled papers commissioned from Pam Smith of Abiquiu, New Mexico. The book is housed in a slipcase, two tone black and rust Ashai book cloth and printed paper label on the closed side. Numbered 1-28 and signed on the colophon page by the author and artist. $2200.

Outside, Nawakum Press, Illustration Samples
Outside, Nawakum Press, Illustration Samples

Nawakum’s wonderful edition of Herman Melville‘s Norfolk Isle and the Chola Widow is also still available. You can see a Books and Vines review of it here. This edition contains original, commissioned wood engravings by Rik Olson, California illustrator and fine artist. It is letterpress printed on Rives Heavyweight with engravings printed from original wood blocks. Artist designed patterned paper over boards, quarter bound in Japanese book cloth and housed in a slipcase. The books are numbered and signed by the artist. $450.

The Chola Widow, The Nawakum Press, Frontispiece and Title Page
The Chola Widow, The Nawakum Press, Frontispiece and Title Page

In the works is an artists’ book, Kerosene Beauty by poet Jane Hirshfield, long listed for the National Book Award 2015, with mezzotints by Sonoma County artist Holly Downing.

Contact Nawakum Press here.

The Old School Press

Martyn Ould’s Old School Press has a new home this year, Cliff Edge, Beer Hill, Seaton EX12 2QD, UK. He has a number of fine works available presently as he works on the first volume of ‘Printing at the University Press, Oxford 1660-1780‘ due out soon. This title, perhaps the most ambitious in its research and extent from The Old School Press, will be a three-volume work, each volume to be published separately. Volume I will cover three key resources of the Press (in particular the Learned Press) and their development: the premises they occupied and how they were used, the management organisation that ran the Press, and the paper it used and its sources. Volume II will cover the type it used and its sources. Each of these resources will be dealt with chronologically in order to show the changes that occurred and why, as well as providing the foundations for the third volume. Volume III will cover the processes of the Learned Press, detailing how a book progressed from its author, via compositor, corrector, press-crew, and rolling-press man to the Warehouse ready for sale.

Each of the three volumes will have tipped-in reproductions of manuscripts from Oxford University Press archives, Oxford University archives, and the Bodleian Library, all published for the first time. The edition will be 200 standard copies (including ten sets of sheets for binders) and there will be a de luxeedition of fifty copies which will come bound in quarter leather in a slipcase with additional material: with volume I there will be a volume of hitherto unpublished correspondence from the London paper dealers to the Press in the 1670s, with volume II a portfolio of leaves from books printed across the period, and with volume III an extended essay on the business planning done by Fell’s partner Thomas Yate at the time that they set up their press in 1671-2, including many clues to productivity and pay. The separate volumes will of course be printed letterpress, in Monotype Van Dijck on Mohawk Superfine. The books’ size and binding will be the same as for their previous titles on OUP.

While waiting for the release of the Oxford work, see here for a full list of works available, many at very affordable price points. Here I highlight a couple:

Venice Approached is their most recent title and it is in print. There are only three copies left, so move fast! The text is taken from John Ruskin‘s classic work The Stones of Venice. The hand-set text is in 14pt Hunt Roman and printed on a pale blue Hodgkinson hand-made paper, making a single section of 16 pages sewn into a simple case. To cover the boards Mr. Ould decided to use up a number of oddments from his 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 are not for sale, but the others are £60 (euro90, US$120) each.

Venice Approached, bindings in beautiful Anne Muir marbled paper.
Venice Approached, bindings in beautiful Anne Muir marbled paper.

Another fairly recent publication is Stockholm Reflections, which contains “modern and ancient responses to the vibrant Stockholm waterfront, with digital images by Leslie Gerry.”  Mr. Gerry’s eleven images occupy a landscape sheet 370mm tall by 560mm wide (that’s about 14.5 inches by 22 inches) and they are compiled as a concertina-fold book, with a further illustration on the title page and two more on the front and back covers of the book. His illustrations are very much his personal response to the beauty of the place, to the colour and vibrancy imparted by the boats, the buildings, the sky and the water. His pleasure on first coming across the area echoes that of those who found their way to Stockholm in the eighteenth century and so to accompany the images we have printed extracts from travel books from as early as 1720.

Putting letterpress text together with giclée digital images has become quite a habit at The Old School Press; according to Mr. Ould, the two techniques are unrivaled for quality and he has no doubt that Caxton would have preferred giclée to woodcuts if he could have! So once again, expect clean letterpress from freshly-cast type combined with brilliantly rendered colour in a novel binding.  The text occupies an eight-page section printed by letterpress on a pale-blue hand-made paper from the Velké Losiny mill in the Czech Republic. The choice of typeface is also new departure for The Old School Press: Eric Gill’s Joanna in the 14pt size, with headings in variations of Gill Sans. The book’s binding is quarter-cloth with the further illustrations by Leslie on the boards and it is presented in a solander box bound in a dark blue-grey cloth. The edition is just 95 copies, priced at £295 (euro370, US$490) each.

Stockholm Reflections, Book in Solander
Stockholm Reflections, Book in Solander

Also out in 2016 will be The Lost Colours of the Cyclades, a sequel to John Sutcliffe’s highly successful The Colours of Rome, this new book investigating the question of why white is the predominant colour of the Greek islands and whether it has always been so. Like The Colours of Rome, this new title will have colour at its core, no doubt with large swatch cards individually painted by John, and – in the de luxecopies – with a further enticement to be announced. We shall be leaking details in our occasional e-newsletters as work on the book proceeds. It will be a small edition, perhaps 100 copies of the standard edition and 25 de luxe. The text will be printed letterpress of course, in Monotype Perpetua. The price is yet to be determined but will be around £200 for the standard edition and £400 for the de luxe.

Contact Mr. Ould at Old School Press here.

The Old Stile Press

Frances and Nicolas McDowell of The Old Stile Press have been producing fine books for quite some time! As such, they have quite a selection for you to choose from (here is the full list), including:

The Diary of a Dead Officer – selected posthumous papers of Arthur Graeme West with linocuts throughout and Afterword by John Abell. In this remarkable diary – Arthur Graeme West’s only book – we read of the journey from being a young Balliol scholar eager to join the army in 1914 to a disillusioned man who loses his faith in the army in which he served and then his belief in God.

One purchaser of this work said:

Considering the content and images, it feels strange to use words like ‘magnificent’ etc (which it is) but it is certainly a text worthy of the treatment that is unique to The Old Stile Press, and the singular and harrowing images from John Abell appear as relevant and appropriate as any I’ve seen. The design of the page layouts with the cuts wrapping around the columned text must have been quite a challenge, but the results look wonderful…. This text and this artist were made for each other . . . stunning – an important book.

The paper is 250gsm Vélin Arches. John Abell’s images were printed directly from his linocuts. The book was casebound at The Fine Bookbindery in quarter cloth with paper sides printed with linocut images by the artist. Red ‘velvet’ lined slipcase. The main edition is limited to 150 copies, numbered and signed by the artist. A special edition, of just 10 copies for sale, has a copy of the book placed in a drop back box lined with red ‘velvet’ together with a portfolio of 9 signed prints which do not appear within the book, each on a separate sheet. Also, let into the base of the box, is one of the actual lino blocks used in the printing of the book. Pricing for the main edition is £295 and the special edition £ 1250.

The Diary of a Dead Officer, Old Stile Press, Cover
The Diary of a Dead Officer, Old Stile Press, Cover
The Diary of a Dead Officer, Old Stile Press, Sample Illustration and Text
The Diary of a Dead Officer, Old Stile Press, Sample Illustration and Text

The newest book from the press is Trans-Siberian Prosody and Little Jeanne from France, in a new translation into English from the French of Blaise Cendrars by Dick Jones with imagery by Natalie d’Arbeloff. This extraordinary epic poem – known for short as the Trans-Sib given its deliberately awkward and cumbersome title – was written by Blaise Cendrars in 1913. It is a compound of the literal and the surreal, a breathless travelogue, historical commentary and dreamscape narrative. His daughter, Miriam Gilou Cendrars, writes for this edition a note about the importance of Cendrars’ work to modern poetry of the twentieth century and has enthusiastically praised this translation. Dick Jones and Natalie d’Arbeloff were both equally excited by Cendrars’ writing and together created a rhythmic, pounding fusion of image and words retelling this journey across Russia on the famous Trans-Siberian railway – a journey which deserves to be better known beyond the French-speaking world.

The paper is Canaletto Liscio 160gsm. Typeface is Storm Sans. In the printing of the text twenty four different colours were used, chosen at random. The suite of vinyl cut images are printed directly from Natalie d’Arbeloff’s original blocks. The book was case-bound at The Fine Bookbindery with papers designed by the artist and the lined slipcase is blocked with an image of Cendrars. The Main Edition is 150 copies numbered and signed by artist and translator, priced at £295.  There are ten special copies where the book is placed in a drop-back box together with a portfolio containing four images printed and hand coloured by the artist.Two are taken from the book and two were made especially for this edition. Each is individually signed and numbered by the artist. Priced at £1350.

Trans-Siberian Prosody and Little Jeanne from France, Old Stile Press, Cover
Trans-Siberian Prosody and Little Jeanne from France, Old Stile Press, Cover
Trans-Siberian Prosody and Little Jeanne from France, Old Stile Press, Sample Illustration and Text
Trans-Siberian Prosody and Little Jeanne from France, Old Stile Press, Sample Illustration and Text

Contact Old Stile Press here.

Peter Koch, Printers

The CODEX Foundation’s Alchimie Du Verbe is a real showcase of some of the finest work of today’s private press and the artists often associated with such. Purchases support the CODEX Foundation 100% so it is a real win-win. Just look at the list of participating artists:

Walter Bachinski and Janis Butler, Victoria Bean, Karen Bleitz, Carolee Campbell, Aaron Cohick, Crispin & Jan Elsted, Nacho Gallardo, Martha Hellion, Sarah Horowitz, Mikhail Karassik, Peter Rutledge Koch, Patricia Lagarde, Clemens-Tobias Lange, Alan Loney, Peter Malutzki and Ines von Ketelhodt, Russell Maret, Rick Myers, Didier Mutel, Robin Price, Harry Reese and Sandra Liddell Reese, Dmitry Sayenko, Veronika Schäpers, Gaylord Schanilec, Johannes Strugalla and Françoise Despalles, Richard Wagener, Sam Winston.

The prospectus tells us:

In celebration of the 5th CODEX Symposium, the 10th anniversary of the CODEX Foundation, and the 500th anniversary of the death of Aldus Manutius—we are pleased to announce Alchimie du Verbe, the first ever CODEX Assembly-Exchange, a carefully curated collection of printed works from some of the finest book artists and printers in the world.

From the earliest written record there have been instances of allegorical figures, shaped language, secret codes, and philosophi- cal alphabets. We have seen the brilliant De laudibus sanctae crucis of Hrabanus Maurus in the 9th century and the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili in the 15th century. In the last 150 years, Arthur Rimbaud’s Alchimie du Verbe, Guillaume Apollinaire’s Calligrammes, Brazilian concrete poetry, and the mesostics of John Cage are noted examples. In the present context, the artwork of Karen Bleitz, Martha Hellion, Russell Maret, and Harry & Sandra Reese, as illustrated in this brochure, are examplary.

The book as a spiritual instrument has long been associated with the ancient alchemical tradition of the transformation of self and matter. From the Utriusque Cosmi… of Robert Fludd in 17th century to the Neo Emblemata Nova of Daniel Kelm in the 21st, the alchemist has remained a vital metaphor in understanding the workings of the creative imagination.

The pieces within this modern Alchimie du Verbe range from traditional private press and playful typographic experimentation to contemporary avant-garde. In other words—a collection truly representative of the CODEX bibliosphere—presenting an international and inclusive view of the book arts as practiced by some of the finest artists and printers working in the field. The symbolic imagination is a constant force in the art and thought of all ages and cultures. In the spirit of the international bibliosphere and the studium codex, we raise a glass to the typographic imagination and the poetical alphabet.

The printed works on paper were made using a variety of methods, including: letterpress, screenprint, hand-set type, photopolymer, wood type, silver-gelatin, intaglio, inkjet, & wood engraving. The papers are equally diverse, including: Barcham Green, Zerkall, & Magnani. From handmade to industrial; gossamer-thin to heavy-weight; kozo, cotton, and more. The designs range from broadsides to chapbooks to folded folios. Each work is wrapped in Kawashi paper donated by Hiromi Paper. The complete set is housed in a handmade box from John DeMerritt Bookbinder. The printed pieces are roughly A4 (8.25″ x 11.75″) and the box is 8.75″ x 12.5″ x 2.25″. There were twenty six lettered copies for distribution to the participants and forty numbered copies for sale.  For more information or to purchase the collection, see here.

Illustration by Walter Bachinski
Illustration by Walter Bachinski

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 4.45.21 PM

Mr. Koch has many titles available from his collection of fine works. See here for a complete list, which includes the recently reviewed Paris by Christopher Carroll and I’ll Die Tomorrow by Mickey Spillane. Many of his other titles were reviewed by Books and Vines here, here and here. All would be fantastic gifts!

Paris, Peter Koch Printers, Spine and Cover
Paris, Peter Koch Printers, Spine and Cover

Contact Mr. Koch here.

The Prototype Press

As many of you know, David Johnston of The Prototype Press (and previously, Sharp Teeth Press) tragically passed away this October, right before his 30th birthday.  I was lucky to have had a number of interactions with David over the past 18 months. He was a fantastic guy, passionate as can be about his interests, especially fine press printing. He will be missed.

David Johnston, October 17th, 1985 - October 3rd, 2015
David Johnston, October 17th, 1985 – October 3rd, 2015

Books and Vines reviewed David’s editions of Kurt Vonnegut‘s 2BR02B and Henry David Thoreau‘s Civil Disobedience, as well as the first work from The Prototype Press, Me, Myself and the Monkeyface Eel (a wonderful book, with some availability, priced at $350).

Me, Myself and the Monkeyface Eel, The Prototype Press, Sample Illustration #1 with Text
Me, Myself and the Monkeyface Eel, The Prototype Press, Sample Illustration #1 with Text

David’s partner in the press, Mark Sarigianis is planning to continue the work of the press, starting with wrapping up and binding copies of The Glamour Requirement (David’s brainchild). In April 2014, the Buffalo Bills were sued by their cheerleading squad, the Buffalo Jills, for several labor law violations, some as basic as minimum wage rate of pay. In the ensuing law suit, a document titled “Buffalo Jills Glamour Etiquette Hygiene Rules” became public and was published online. The appalling and insulting document is reproduced here with an editorial by Stefanie Kalem and illustrations by Whitney Coffin Shaw. 48pages, printed on Rives BFK, Coptic bound with inflated football leather covers. Printed from Monotype and hand-set 20th Century and Futura Types and photopolymer illustrations. Housed in a foiled slipcase. Edition of 30, priced at $950.

 The Glamour Requirement
The Glamour Requirement

Similarly, Mr. Sarigianis is wrapping up an artist book with Martin Machado, a San Francisco artist and friend of the press, title An Ocean Between Us. Seen through the eyes of a sailor at sea on an international containership, An Ocean Between Us reveals the connections that link modern ocean commerce to the maritime endeavors of European colonialists. The book’s text alternates between short stories, poems and art works. It is typographical inspired by the Captain Cook Adventure Logs of the 1700’s and the art work is reminiscent of old master book engravings. The very limited edition of 15 copies is printed damp on Rives BFK paper from Monotype and hand-set Caslon types. The images are printed from photopolymer plates made by the press. At 15” x 11” in size, it is 40 pages in length. It is hardbound in black cloth foil stamped in gold with an original illustration. Like all Prototype books, it is cast, printed and bound by the press. The price is $1,000.

An Ocean Between Us, The Prototype Press, Cover
An Ocean Between Us, The Prototype Press, Cover
An Ocean Between Us, The Prototype Press, Cover
An Ocean Between Us, The Prototype Press, Sample Illustration and Text

Additionally, Mr. Sarigianis is planning to continue on with what had been their largest project to date. The Prototype Press acquired the rights from HarperCollins to produce a deluxe limited edition of 50 copies of Charles Bukowski‘s Ham on Rye. David was extremely excited about this, and he and Mark had talked about it as a dream project for years. In the weeks leading up to October, David had keyboarded the entire book in preparation for formatting. He was an excellent typist. The plan was and is to have a member of the Outlaw PrintmakersSean Starwars, illustrate the book with over 25 original two-color wood engravings. The paper is going to be custom, hand-made from St. Armand. Once the details of costs and materials are worked out, the press will offer a pre-sale of the project at a discount of the finished price. Look for an announcement in the Spring. It will be necessary to pre-sell a number of copies in order to pay rent and buy materials over the 14 months needed to complete the project. If you are interested in pre-ordering, please email Mark here. A pre-order of this work would be an excellent, special and unique gift, and would assist The Prototype Press in this endeavor.

Contact Mr. Sarigianis here.

Rampant Lions Press

I have been lucky enough recently to have picked up a few books from Sebastian Carter’s historic Rampant Lions Press. While the Press is no longer producing new works, they do have a handful of works available for order (see here for a complete list). A couple in particular I will point out include:

Books and Vines reviewed The Psalms of David and found it one of the best values I have seen in the fine press world. £175 is not inexpensive, but it is a steal for the quality of this work. Miles Coverdale’s translation is used (as used in the Book of Common Prayer). It is hand-set in Eric Gill’s Golden Cockerel Roman – the first use of the type at the Rampant Lions Press – and printed on J Green mould-made paper. Bound by George Miller.  The book is limited to 280 copies in quarter vellum with specially designed patterned paper boards. What better gift than The Psalms?

The Psalms of David, Rampant Lions Press, Spine and Covers
The Psalms of David, Rampant Lions Press, Spine and Covers

Also available is Honoré de Balzac‘s The Unknown Masterpiece, in a new translation by Peter Raby and with six aquatints by Thomas Newbolt. See here on Books and Vines for pictures and a review of this excellent work. The book is set in Times New Roman and printed on Zerkall ‘Silurian’ mould-made paper. All the editions have Thomas Newbolt’s beautiful life studies tipped in. There are a few editions, with prices ranging from £75 up to £900.

The Unknown Masterpiece, Rampant Lions Press, Frontispiece and Title Page
The Unknown Masterpiece, Rampant Lions Press, Frontispiece and Title Page

Mr. Carter also has some ‘bin ends’ available, at very attractive pricing, as follows:

Tact in Typographical Design (1962): Specimen of Octavian type. A few copies of the regular edition (buff covers) each £10.

Lessons of the War (1970): Copy of special edition, number XLIII, not signed. Decent condition in glassine paper wrapper, £50. Copy of special edition, out of series and not signed. Decent condition in glassine paper wrapper, £30. Copy of ordinary edition, number 3. Decent condition in glassine paper wrapper, £35.

The Story of Cupid and Psyche (1974):  Copy of the ordinary edition, two volumes as new, out of series (the last of two sets thus), £1,000. This is your chance to own a publishing landmark, see here.

The Story of Cupid and Psyche, Clover Hill Editions/The Rampant Lions Press, Vol. 2 Sample Illustrations #1 with Text
The Story of Cupid and Psyche, Clover Hill Editions/The Rampant Lions Press, Vol. 2 Sample Illustrations #1 with Text

Portfolio Three (1982): Two copies. Good condition. Each £35.

The Book Becomes (1984): Two copies of rebound edition as new. Each £45.

The Vanity of Human Wishes (1984): Three copies in good condition, each £160. Three copies very slightly flawed (paper or binding cloth), each £140.

Grigson at Eighty (1985): Special edition. As new. Copy no 55, £75. Four copies out of series, each £45.

Four Quartets (1996): Copy number 1, as new. £750.

In the beginning (2006):Lettered copy B as new, £1,200.

The Rampant Lions Press: A narrative catalogue (2013): The special edition of 40 copies, two copies available, each £350.

Do not miss your chance to own some works from fine press publishing history! Contact Mr. Carter here.

The Salvage Press

Jamie Murphy continues to produce amazing works! His Samuel Beckett Imagination Dead Imagine won a Fine Press Book Association Judges’ Choice Award in Oxford this year. This new edition of loose sheets celebrates the 50th anniversary of the original publishing in 1965. The project is a collaboration between typographic designer Jamie Murphy & visual artist David O’Kane. The work is introduced with an essay by renowned Beckett scholar Stanley E Gontarski.  See here for much more detail and pictures.

The text has been hand-set & letterpress printed by Jamie Murphy in 18 point Caslon Old Face, supported by a newly drawn ten line grotesque typeface by Bobby Tannam, cut from maple by Tom Mayo. David O’Kane has supplied two lithographs inspired by the text, editioned by Thomas Franke at Stein Werk Lithography studio in Leipzig. The sheets are printed on 250 gsm French made Venin Cuve BFK Rives mouldmade. The edition is limited to 50 copies, 40 of which make up the standard format, ten accounting for the de luxe. The bindings were executed by Tom Duffy in Dublin. The standard is housed in a cloth covered portfolio, protected inside a slipcase. The de luxe is presented in a clam-shell box accompanied by a typographic triptych based on the text. The standard copies are numbered 11 – 50, the de-luxe are numbered 1 – 10. Each copy has been signed by the collaborators.

Imagination Dead Imagine, Salvage Press
Imagination Dead Imagine, Salvage Press

The upcoming edition called Winter is one I am particularly interested in.  Mr. Murphy states on his website:

I have begun a large and very interesting book project based on WW1 poetry from the hands of approximately 14 revered Irish poets including W.B. Yeats, Francis Ledwidge, William Orpen, Katherine Tynan, Thomas McGreevy, George Russell, Patrick McGill and others to be confirmed. Illustrations have been drawn by renowned Irish illustrator David Rooney. The book will carry an introduction by it’s editor, Dr. Lisa Griffith. Both the typographic approach and book format will be experimental in design. The majority of the text will be hand set in specially cast 24 point Caslon Small Face, first released in 1916. The 225gsm Zerkall mouldmade paper has arrived.

Approximately 60 books will be made. The 46 books in the standard edition will consist of the poems in broadside format accompanied by a quarter bound (cloth and paper covered boards) illustrated book containing the introduction and other relevant texts. Housed in a strong portfolio.

The 16 books in the De Luxe edition will consist of the poems in broadside format, the illustrations in a limited edition signed by the artist, and several unpublished contemporary poems reflective of the subject. These will be accompanied by a half bound (moroccan goat and paper over boards) book containing the introduction and other relevant texts. All housed in a solander box.

Winter, The Salvage Press
Winter, The Salvage Press, illustrator David Rooney (sorry, white squares remnants of screen shot!)

Winter is extremely limited (46 Standard, 16 Deluxe), so move quickly! Mr. Murphy has some existing works in stock, See here for the complete list of available works. Here is a sampling:

Albert, Ernest & the Titanic tells the story of RMS Titanic’s ill-fated on board printers, Abraham ‘Albert’ Mishellany and Ernest Corbin as they travel on the ship’s doomed maiden voyage. Designed, illustrated and letterpress printed by Jamie Murphy. All the text has been set by hand in Monotype Garamond, Grotesque Light and Grot no.8. The 40 illustrations are printed from original linoleum blocks. Hand bound by Tom Duffy in a unique adhesive-less binding. It is limited to 36 copies, of which there is only one remaining, so move quickly if interested! The cost is €2,000. There are many pictures to see of this edition here.

Albert, Ernest & the Titanic, The Salvage Press
Albert, Ernest & the Titanic, The Salvage Press

Four Poems based on the poetry of Jonathan Swift, housed in a protective slipcase — Stella’s Birth-Day (1725), Desire and Possession (1727), The Puppet Show (1729) and A Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed (1731). The type is set  in 12 & 22 point Monotype Caslon Old Face series 128. Monotype’s interesting cut (1916) is an adaptation of the first designs released by William Caslon I, but nevertheless, while Swift was penning and publishing these four poems, Caslon’s ‘Roman and Italick’ types were also having their first outings (1725 — 1731).  These books have each been printed in an edition of just 50 copies. Numbers 1 – 40 comprise the standard copies with paper sides, A – J comprise the De Luxe copies which have been case bound & housed in slipcases by Tom Duffy in his studio at Dublin’s Five Lamps. The standard edition is €160 with 5 remaining at the time of this writing, the Deluxe is €280 with 3 remaining.

Four Poems, Jonathan Swift, The Salvage Press
Four Poems, Jonathan Swift, The Salvage Press

You can contact Mr. Murphy here.

Shanty Bay Press

While I am excited for The Birth of Venus, which looks to be tracking late next year,  Shanty Bay Press has copies of the Homeric Hymn to AphroditeCIRCUS: The Artist as Saltimbanque and Stories from Ovid’s Metamorphoses available. With art by Walter Bachinski and typesetting, presswork and binding by Janis Butler, these livre d’artist books are simply outstanding productions, beautiful works that I admire. That would make amazing Christmas gifts, including for yourself!   See here for a look at each of those works, including many pictures.

The translation used for Ovid’s Metamorphoses is the one compiled by Sir Samuel Garth in 1715, in which he used leading poets of the era such as John Dryden and Joseph Addison. This is a large book with a page size 36.8 by 25.4 cm. There are 152 pages including blanks. The type is hand-set Bembo, printed on 200 gsm Arches Cover. Each of the 15 stories begins with a photogravure of a drawing to illustrate the story.  Walter Bachinski worked on the drawings over a period of a year and then had them made into photogravures by Jon Goodman who also printed the plates. The price for the Regular Edition is $3,500 (quarter bound in calfskin with Japanese Gampi paper over boards), the deluxe $7500 (it is fully bound in calf skin with a portfolio containing an extra set of the photogravures from the book).

Metamorphoses, by Ovid, Illustrations by Walter Bachinski. The type is hand-set Bembo, printed on 200 gsm Arches Cover. Each of the 15 stories begins with a photogravure of a drawing to illustrate the story, quarter bound in calfskin with Japanese Gampi paper over boards. $3500. (Shanty Bay Press)
Metamorphoses, by Ovid, Illustrations by Walter Bachinski.  (Shanty Bay Press)

CIRCUS: The Artist as Saltimbanque is another amazing work. Shanty Bay explains the book:

This book contains a variety of writings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries loosely based on the idea of the artist and the circus. The authors include Apollinaire, Beaumont, Baudelaire, Miller, Rilke and Twain. The excerpts are different in both style and content: they are funny, surreal, serious and poignant. Together with the illustrations we hope to evoke the richness of the circus experience, where there are three rings of simultaneous activity, with something different happening in each one. 

The book measures 37.8 x 26.6 cm and there are 72 pages including blanks. The book is hand-set Deepdene on 200 gsm Arches cover. The book is quarter bound in cloth and Somegami paper and is housed in a cloth-covered slipcase. It has been designed jointly by Janis Butler and Walter Bachinski. There are 4 full page pochoirs and 8 multi-coloured linocuts created and executed by Walter Bachinski. Printing on a Vandercook Universal 1 and binding were done by Janis Butler. Limited to 55 copies and the price is $3000.00.

CIRCUS: The Artist as Saltimbanque, Shanty Bay Press, pochoir
CIRCUS: The Artist as Saltimbanque, Shanty Bay Press, Baudelaire pochoir

Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite is another outstanding work from Shanty Bay. It is translated by Susan C. Shelmerdine with a preface and 3 full page pochoir illustrations and 3 two-colour woodcuts by Walter Bachinski. It is handset on Somerset Satin paper 250 gsm using Bembo type and has 40 pages including blanks. The size is 13 x 9 3/16 inches and it is limited to 100 copies.

Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, Shanty Bay Press, Seduction Pochoir
Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, Shanty Bay Press, Seduction Pochoir

As for the upcoming The Birth of Venus, it will consist of a pochoir in triptych form depicting Venus with a variation of Venus on either side. The pochoir is done traditionally with many stencils and the final details done freehand. The pochoir will be mounted within a clamshell box and set for open viewing. There will also be an illustrated book housed in the box containing a number of poems on the Birth of Venus. The poems in the book are:

There will be 5 two colour lino cuts and a multi colour lino on the book’s cover. The idea is that when the box is opened the reader can read the poems within the book while looking at the pochoir. This will be a large sized work. The dimensions of the clamshell box are 22 X 15 1⁄4 X 1 1⁄2 inches. The book page size is 14 1/2 X 9 inches and the book itself will have 40 pages. The triptych dimensions are:

  • Left panel 8 15/16 X 4 3⁄4 inches or 22.7 X 12.1 cm
  • Centre panel 8 15/16 X 5 3/16 inches or 22.7 X 13.1 cm
  • Right panel 8 15/16 X 4 3⁄4 inches or 22.7 X 12.1 cm

You will want to plan on ordering The Birth of Venus next year, but do consider the above-mentioned works for this year!

Contact Shanty Bay Press here.

Solmentes Press

Following up on his fantastic book Chili: A Pictorial Recipe in Woodcuts, and on his “passion for food, cooking and making books,” David Esslemont’s latest work is called Taxi Driver Curry. Mr. Esslemont tells us:

There are many different ways to cook curry – this transcript of a conversation with a taxi driver describes just one approach and was recorded at 4.30 a.m. while travelling between terminals at London’s Heathrow airport. The woodcuts are based on kolam, Indian designs that are created outside homes to ward off evil spirits.

Taxi Driver Curry, Solmentes Press, Sample Woodcuts
Taxi Driver Curry, Solmentes Press, Sample Woodcuts

Fifty copies hand printed from the original wood- blocks, the text from polymer plates, bound as follows: forty-five copies in cloth-covered boards, presented in a drop-back box – $400 ($360 pre publication) and five copies in a deluxe binding (details on request). The size of the work is 175 x 254 mm ( 7 x 10 ins), 24pp, 10 woodcuts.

Next up is Pizza, an ambitious project that begins with weeds and fire as the ground is cleared to plant wheat – clay is mixed with sand to make adobe bricks, and concludes with the magic of cooking in a wood-fired oven, with ferocious heat, rolling flames, and the tantalizing aromas of home-grown pizza.

Mr. Esslemont has much more to choose from, including books painting, drawings and prints. See here. You can contact Mr. Esslemont here.

The Whittington Press

John Randle’s work is famously outstanding, and so needs no introduction from me. There are a number of works available from Whittington Press, all would make excellent additions to your library and/or excellent gifts. Here is the list of works. Their truly amazing Matrix series continues, with Matrix 33 being the latest. Matrix 33 contains some 160 pages, including 8 pages of colour plates; type specimens printed in France, Italy, America and the UK; and many other linocut, and line and colour illustrations. The contents include:

A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall: Protest Images from the Nineteen Sixties by Dennis Gould; Herbert Jefferies, or The Bronze Buckaroo by Barbara Henry; Bradley Hutchinson – a Letterpress Fusion by Catherine Docter; Flaps & Hinges by Andrew Anderson; Hornby and the Daniels, their Correspondence by William S. Peterson; Reynolds Stone by Humphrey Stone; Lac Des Pleurs by Gaylord Schanilec; It’s Not Nostalgia, the Skill and Vision of Lowell Bodger by Paul Shaw; An Eighteenth-Century Factory for Bibles by Martyn Ould; The Rampant Lions Press at the Fitzwilliam Museum, 1982 by Sebastian Carter; Reprinting Printing Types: a Wander through the Design of Stephenson Blake’s Type Specimens by David Marshall and Elizabeth Ellis; Wood Type Revival by Tom Mayo; Tribulations of a Publishing Bookseller by George Ramsden; Matrix and Minnesota by John Randle; Donatus Pro Puerulis, the Lost Subiaco Edition and a Replica Imagined by Richard Årlin; Watermarks, and the Flow of Time by Enrico Tallone; From the Guild of St Joseph to Ditchling Museum by Jenny KilBride; Émigrés by Anna Nyburg; First Folio by Louisa Hare; La Fin du Monde by Celine Biewesch; Bristol to Mainz, with Bicycle and Adana by Nick Hand; A Bookseller’s Diary by Sophie Schneideman; Book Reviews by Paul W. Nash, John Randle and Patrick Randle.

There are a number of publications in the works, the following of which I am particularly interested in (and it is not too early to reserve one for yourself or as a gift!):

Venice, by John Craig, provides a scintillating series of double-page spreads which, with over 80 wood-engravings and a few linocuts, will lead the reader through the lesser known by-ways of Venice, the narrow passages, hidden squares and waterways that often elude the casual visitor, seen through an acute architectural eye. The typographical treatment of the book will be from Mr. Craig also, so that the engravings and type harmonise as a single unit on each double-page spread. Set in 13-point Bodoni and printed on Zerkall mould-made paper. Various levels of deluxe-ness provide different types of bindings and options for portfolios of the prints.

Venice, John Craig Illustrations
Venice, John Craig Illustrations

Pages from Presses II, by David Butcher, follows up on the amazing 2006 Pages From Presses I, which included a history and original leaves from the Kelmscott, Ashendene, Doves (including a vellum leaf in the special copies), Vale, Eragny and Essex House Presses. Pages from Presses II will take the story up to the Second World War and beyond, and include David’s accounts of the Golden Cockerel, Gregynog, Nonesuch, Shakespeare Head, Haslewood, Cresset and, interestingly, the Curwen Press. Once again it will be accompanied by original leaves from each Press, mounted on generously sized guards so that each side is readily accessible. These will demonstrate the varying typographical styles of the presses and show the typefaces, illustrations, decorative elements and papers they used. The original leaves chosen include some of the major works from the presses, such as the Golden Cockerel Canterbury Tales engraved by Eric Gill. The book will be a handsome volume, printed on Czech Losin hand-made paper, set in 14-point Walbaum. The leather editions contain additional and more elaborate specimen leaves, and the full-leather edition has a separate portfolio of additional leaves. The buckram, Roma hand-made and marbled paper, and leather used for the bindings, will all be in green to complement the red used for the earlier volume, which was sold out on publication.

Contact Whittington Press here.


The one issue with presenting a list of publishers, like I have done above, is leaving people out. I wish I could avoid such, but I can only cover what I am familiar with! With that in mind, here are a few other works that I have had interest in for some time, and certainly should be considered in your fine press purchasing plans:

I have highlighted a few books from Ascensius Press, the latest of which being North of Boston by Robert Frost.  There are just a few copies of that left for sale, so hurry up if interested. New, and hoping to be finished by Christmas, is a new collaboration, under the banner of The Baculum Press, between binder Gray Parrot and Scott Vile of Ascensius called Some thoughts on the Future of Bookbinding and Other Book Arts, together with a Sad Tale from 1732 (The Sad Tale is a story of a bookbinder who takes the life of himself and his family after he cannot pay his bills). This work is limited to 50 copies of a regular edition, 20 deluxe, and 3 hors de commerce. 4 x 6 inches, about 36 pages with three Photogravures by Peter Bogardus in NYC.  The 50 copies are printed on Gutenberg Laid, the 20 and 3 are on Barcham Green Handmade paper, and the three HdC are bound with one of the three copper plates used to print the photogravures.  Also, the Press is happy to announce the publication of a  limited edition of 100 copies of A Bibliography of Maine Imprints, 1785-1820 by Glenn Skillin. The book is 600pp, 8.5 x 11, and contains illustrations and complete bibliographical descriptions of over 2000 items from that period.  Pricing will be around $75.00. Softbound, While not done in fine press treatment, it is a substantial project, the author has been working on it for over 40 years. Roger Stoddard has written the Introduction. Contact Scott Vile here.

I had previously reviewed Ambrose Bierce‘s The Ocean Wave from The Press of Robert LoMascolo, which looks to still be available.  In addition, he has some very inexpensive choices, including a miniature! Saint Talfryn is a comical, fictional tale written by Mr. LoMascolo’s brother. The book is a diminutive 2×3 inches in scale, and consists of 16 pages. Get a copy now for only $20, shipping included in the USA.  Also, just in time, Mr. LoMascolo has letterpress printed holiday cards featuring a partridge in a pear border beautifully printed in three colors. Get a set of 4 with envelopes for only $20, and free shipping in the USA! You can contact Mr. Lomascolo here.

The Press of Robert LoMascolo, Holiday Card
The Press of Robert LoMascolo, Holiday Card

Chester Creek Press has a very nice recently published edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven (based on a version published in the Saturday Courier of Philadelphia in 1846) along with Poe’s The Philosophy of Composition (an essay in which Poe expounds on his methodology in writing The Raven, first published in the April 1846 issue of Graham’s) available.  It is printed letterpress from handset Centaur and Arrighi type on handmade cotton rag paper. Illustrated by the printer, with a portrait of Poe adapted from a drawing by Anne Gregson. Illustrations printed from photopolymer plates. Printing, binding, and paper making by Robert Walp at Chester Creek Press. 6-1/2 x 10 inches, 38 pages. It is limited to 22 copies, and is priced at $290. There are a number of other works available from Mr. Walp here.

The Raven, Chester Creek Press
The Raven, Chester Creek Press, Cover
The Raven, Chester Creek Press, Sample Page
The Raven, Chester Creek Press, Sample Page

St. Brigid Press recently won the Oxford Guild of Printers’ Prize for Best Fine Press Book under £50, at the Oxford Fine Press Book Fair in England for their edition of Soundings – haiku and carvings, by Emily Hancock. This is a limited edition book of poetry, collecting over 30 of Hancock’s haiku and illustrated with prints of  three of her original block carvings. Hand-set, letterpress printed, and hand-bound at St Brigid Press. Typeface is the historic Koch-Antiqua; papers are Rives Heavyweight and Rives BFK, with decorative Thai banana-leaf. Produced in limited edition, with each copy numbered. Books can be signed upon request. Proprietor Emily Hancock has a number of wonderful letterpress products at excellent pricing, including books, cards, coasters, journals and broadsides — all of which make for unique and beautiful gifts.

Soundings, Emily Hancock
Soundings, Emily Hancock

Another excellent work to consider is Russell Maret‘s newly published Linear A to Linear Z. A unique alphabet book with twenty-six linoleum cuts from Mr. Maret.  The images are not meant to be immediately recognizable as the A, B, Cs we commonly use, but as forms and shapes that evoke the Roman capital letters. They are meant to be A, B, Cs that can also be something else entirely. The deluxe is sold out, but there are still some of the seventy copies printed on Hahnemühle Biblio paper and bound in cloth wrappers. Pricing is $650.

Linear A to Linear Z, Russell Maret
Linear A to Linear Z, Russell Maret (K)

Mr. Maret has a number of other works, as seen here, including an amazing edition of Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound. You can contact Mr. Maret here.

I have long had interest in is the Sherwin Beach Press (Bob McCamant proprietor) version of Mark Twain‘s Innocents Abroad.  The Innocents Abroad was printed in an edition of 200 on Johannot, set in Monotype Bell, and re-spaced manually. It has 445 text pages plus 20 pages of illustrations in two volumes which are each 7 3/4 by 11 1/4 inches. The non-adhesive binding with exposed spine sewing consists of 7 black double raised cords attached to hard covers wrapped in red cloth. The two volumes are in turn housed in a black and white linen covered hard case wrapper with black leather straps over brass studs, intended to suggest a portmanteau. It was designed by Bob McCamant and printed by Martha Chiplis. The binding was designed and executed by Trisha Hammer. It is numbered and signed by the artist and bookmakers. Mr. McCamant also has other unique, interesting and well done works to choose from. See here for a complete list. You can contact Mr. McCamant here.

Sherwin Beach Press version of Mark Twain's Innocents Abroad
Sherwin Beach Press version of Mark Twain’s Innocents Abroad

Taller Martin Pescador still has some copies left of their fantastic Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, reviewed by Books and Vines here. Juan Pascoe does amazing work, please read his background at the aforementioned link on Books and Vines. This book was one of the best fine press books of the last few years and you should be snatch it up before they are all gone! Contact Mr. Pascoe here for inquiries, or contact Philadelphia Rare Books & Manuscripts Company, the exclusive sellers of this work in the United States, here.  It contains illustrations by Artemio Rodriguez and translation by John Ridland. The book was printed on handmade paper, tinted pale green, by Pasquale De Ponte in San Lucas Tepetlaco. Type is Bembo Titling and Poliphilus types, cast by Bradley Hutchinson in Austin, Texas. It was printed on dampened pages on a Vandercook hand press, then bound by the printers, sewn onto vellum tapes and laced into a dark green stiff paper cover (the lettered version is bound in quarter vellum with hard covers, vellum caps at the book corners,  and a custom slipcase). It is folio-sized 13.25″ H x 9″ W and is limited to 200, plus an additional 26 lettered copies.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Taller Martin Pescador, Sample Text with Illustration
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Taller Martin Pescador, Sample Text with Illustration

Lastly, a reminder to check Books and Vines links, which includes other fine press publishers not mentioned in this article. They all deserve a perusal and hopefully some of their works will interest you!

And Finally….

Other excellent options, sure to make book lovers smile without breaking the bank, include subscriptions to the essential Matrix from Whittington Press, or Parenthesis from the Fine Press Books Association. Subscriptions to one or both would make anyone interested in private and fine press books very happy! For private press books no longer in print, Books and Vines lists a number of my favorite book sellers, all of which are a credit to the fine book ecosystem, by their fair prices and fantastic knowledge of the treasures they make available to us. I would like to particularly call out Tom Toth at Different Drummer Books, Mark Post of Mark Post, Bookseller and Robert Fleck of Oak Knoll Books, all of whom I bought scores and scores of books from in the course of wrapping up my complete LEC collection. All have been outstanding to work with, perfectly honest and open in their dealings, with extremely fair prices. Traits that, fortunately, almost every bookseller I have had the pleasure of buying private and fine press from, have displayed. Such booksellers play an indispensable role in the fine press ecosystem.

Need an excuse to take a trip to New York City?  Perhaps buy the tickets now for April 9, 2016 as a gift to your significant other. By coincidence (!), while there…The Fine Press Book Association in collaboration with the Manhattan Vintage Book & Ephemera Show is pleased to announce the third annual Manhattan Fine Press Book Fair on Saturday, April 9, 2016, from 9:30am to 6pm. Like always, it is held during the same weekend as the New York Antiquarian Book Fair at the Park Avenue Armory. I had a chance to go a couple years ago, and it was fantastic.

Many of you have fine books to give away. Please consider donations to schools or libraries that can take care of these fine works, while exposing many more people to the beauty and importance of fine press works. Those with time, consider doing presentations at a local university, school or club, where again the opportunity presents itself to expose many more people to the beauty and importance of fine press works. It is by exposing more and more people to this beauty, and helping them to understand why this craft, and the output from it, is important as a cultural link from previous to future generations, that will allow the private press eco-system to thrive.

Lastly, there are scores of emerging letterpress printers and printing shops whose work focuses more on the scale of invitations, cards, etc.  Please seek out such local printers and use them for all your printing needs! I know that Christmas cards I order from such places always end up much more beautiful and unique than the mass produced junk found elsewhere. And, it is an easy way to re-acquaint lots of people to the majesty of letterpress and fine papers. Letterpress card printers, feel free to leave comments on this thread with links to your wares!

Happy Holidays and order away!!!

9 thoughts on “It’s the Holidays — Support the Private and Fine Press Eco-System!

  1. Chris

    Another great article. Have placed orders for ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘Trading Eights,The Faces of Jazz’ (what a pleasure it is dealing directly with Mrs Shiff and David Pascoe!),and have contacted Whittington Press re their upcoming Venice publication. Have a sneaky feeling I would like ‘Le Avventure Di Pinocchio’ but not being able to read a word of it is causing me to hesitate (do any B&V readers have any thoughts on this book?)

    My favourite purchases in 2015-‘The Story of the Fisherman’ (Foolscap Press) and ‘Tonge’s Travels’ (Old School Press).

    I look forward to another expensive,but highly enjoyable,year in 2016.


    1. Hi Gary, great haul for the holidays! Please do let me know when you get these and what you think! I hear you on the Pinocchio, I am in the same boat. I am sure it would be very lovely, I need to learn to read Italian! I really need to pick up ‘Tonge’s Travels’. Chris

      1. Hi Chris

        Just received ‘Wuthering Heights’ (awesome book-I now recall that I had read somewhere that Balthus never completed his illustrations all those years ago,such a shame the illustrations do not run all the way through the book) and ‘Trading Eights,The Faces of Jazz’ (I now have 4 of the Nawakum Press books and all are gems,a slight pity this one comes without a slipcase).

        In my earlier message when I picked my favourite purchases of 2015,how did I forget ‘Maltese Falcon’ (AP) and ‘Arabian Nights and Days’ (LEC).

        I agree,’The Hunter Gracchus’ (Deep Wood Press) is one to look out for!


    2. Gary:

      ‘Tonge’s Travels’ is a gem. George Tonge is someone whom I would have greatly enjoyed traveling about the world with and his gently sarcastic perspective on people, places and things would make any journey entertaining..

  2. An awesome and very complete summary by Chris of the goodies currently available from many of the finest and most innovative private presses around the world, with something in every price range. I wish to re-emphasize what wonderful holiday gifts these items make – from thoughtfully selected books to seasonal holiday and New Year’s cards, etc. Sending friends or family a beautifully designed card or seasonal greeting printed letterpress on a fine handmade paper makes all the difference and sets you parts from the “madding crowd”.

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