What would Laurence do?

hez_coverPrinting sermons is not usually our sort of lark, but that’s our current project for the Laurence Sterne Trust. Working on it reminds us of our enthusiasm for what Francis Meynell called “allusive typography”, the art of designing a book to recall, or allude to, another typographical era.  This is not facsimile printing, the task of slavishly following someone else’s design, but something we think is more fun–using historic typographic conventions as inspiration for a current project. DSCN0638For the printed style of The Case of Hezekiah and the Messengers, one of Laurence Sterne’s last sermons, we’ve drawn on other 18th-century printed sermons, including this small volume of Sterne’s sermons which were published in 1766 under the name of Mr Yorick, Sterne’s clerical alter ego in Tristram Shandy.  For this first separate edition of the sermon, we have kept the Caslon type of the original, the sometimes curious punctuation and Sterne’s emphatic dashes, but dispensed with the long s and the catchwords at the foot of each page. As well as this print version of the text, Hezekiah is going to be delivered at York Minster as part of Voice from the Pulpit in celebration of the Laurence Sterne Tercentenary, and is available with other sermons on a CD from Shandy Hall.

The sermon speaks directly to our times – As his monument in Coxwold churchyard reads in part:

                                         Sterne was The Man, who with gigantic stride

                                          Mowed down luxuriant follies far and wide.


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Printing from the Garden

marigolds_wbThis has been a bumper year in the Bow Street Community Garden for pot marigolds, or calendula officinalis to give them their proper name. The bees have been hard at work, so lots of flowers has meant lots of seeds, and we have been harvesting since July, mixing seeds from the orange and the yellow flowers.


Now, as summer draws to a close and the nights draw in, we have turned to an indoor job–printing seed packets ready for sale from our table at the 2013 Oxford Fine Press Book Fair at Oxford Brookes University on 2-3 November.  There you will also find our wood-type postcards–if you look closely, one is displayed in the photo–and a fresh harvest of new books, too!

seed_packet  marigold_flower

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Whittington Winners

Prize-Winning Brace

Incline Press dogs Red and Skipper joined in the festivities, or perhaps we should say the ‘presstivities’ at Presstival, the Whittington Press Open Day on Saturday September 8th, when they found themselves ribbon-winners at the annual Village Fete Dog Show. Artist Nick Wonham (illustrator of our latest book Steel Horizon) and his family took Red and Skipper to the Fete Dog Show, where they won two ‘Special Mentions’, the first for ‘best brace’ (that’s a pair), the second another Special for Red who was one of the Dogs the Judges Would Most Like to Take Home.  They also vied for the Happiest Dog: Skipper is often morose, but happy-go-lucky Red sulked at being asked to perform his happiness, so no ribbons there. Red received another knock-back in the Most Appealing Eyes competition. The judge informed Petra and Lily that Red had the smallest eyes she had ever seen, ‘even smaller than the small dogs!’ Afterwards we thought up a few cutting responses, but needless to say, Red lost out in that one too.

Still, we think they did quite well in this first attempt at the dog-show circuit.  We’ve got our  eyes on Crufts. When the next book is finished, maybe?2013 ribbons


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Ken Gilbert binds Lear

We just uncovered these illustrations sent us by United States binder Ken Gilbert of his interpretation of our single section Owl & the Pussy Cat.  You may remember that we chose to bind the book in a paste paper that reminded us of green peas. Although Ken has chosen a more elegant interpretation, it also uses paste paper for the cover. The book is sewn link stitch with a paste paper cover.  The portfolio has a four-flap inside to store the book.  The cover of the portfolio is bound in goat skin with a leather panel set into the cover and hand marbled paper.  The panel is tooled in palladium with fair goat onlay for the moon and a green onlay for the boat.

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Marie Celeste Day at Incline Press

Earlier this year, performance poet Claire Robertson, visiting to discuss a new book project, took a 360 degree turn around Incline Press with camera in hand.  The press is on, the radio is playing, we must have been out walking the dogs! The dramatic synchronized music is just one of those bits of serendipity that take us all by surprise on occasion.  Sheets and tip-ins from our new book on E. R. Weiss by Gerald Cinamon can be seen front and centre, so we must have been hard at work before we saw the camera!

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Nancy Nitzberg works her magic on Blake

Walking Round Cambridge with William Blake

O.k., we admit it.  We’ve been hopeless at keeping up this blog.  You know the story: a book long past deadline, too many conflicting printerly commitments, chaos on the home front… Stuff, as they say, happens (or something like that).  Months go by, and the blog slips farther and farther down the lengthening to-do list.

Then, last month, Nancy Nitzberg sent us this photo, and with one email reminded us why we are keeping this blog. Nancy’s design binding of Walking Around Cambridge with William Blake captures and enhances that blend of 19th and 21st-century poetry and place that Graham envisioned when he asked illustrator Rose Harries to take a copy of that poem with her as she brought her sketchbook and pencil to the streets of Cambridge.

Nancy writes:
My intention is to use tangible artifacts related to the original work to subtly connect the reader to the text and illustrations within, without overshadowing the literary content.

Dark blue goatskin with onlays comprised of a vintage English textile designed by William Morris (produced by Liberty of London).  The textile is arranged to create a “Cambridge style” panel motif; gold-tooled design elements.  Marbled endpapers (nonpareil pattern) made by Payhembury of Cambridgeshire, England.  Leather joints, hand-sewn silk endbands.  Gold-stamped spine label (with some tooling).  The text block was sewn with linen thread on three cords that were laced into the boards.  The choice of English materials reflects the English origin of the printed work (that of the author, illustrator and printer), and the colors of ink used for the images.

Nancy’s binding is part of the trienniel Helen Warren DeGolyer exhibition of design binding at Bridwell Library of Southern Methodist University this summer.  An electronic version of this exhibition can be seen here.
A few copies of Cambridge are still available on our website

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Gerritt Vanderwerker binds A Line

Designer binder Gerritt Vanderwerker has just bound a copy of A Line for us, and we are delighted with the result which we think excellently captures the spirit of Suyeon Kim’s book.

Vanderwerker tells us that this is a modified German millimeter binding. Goatskin and marbled paper over boards with onlays of goatskin and calf. Marbled paper by Iris Nevins, case lined with Strathmore charcoal paper. Slipcase of Strathmore charcoal paper over boards with onlaid goatskin lettering.

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