Wednesday 2 August 2023

F.H.Ernst Schneidler (1882-1956), Der Wassermann

Der Wassermann. Studienblätter für Büchermacher. Stuttgart: Julius Hoffmann Verlag, [1945]. Edition of about 70 copies. Small folio. 4 vols. Loose bifoliums (largely), some in gatherings. Pp. 168; [iv], 156; 180; [iv], 144. Orig. cloth and board portfolios (worn but sound). Printed labels. A good set. Scarce. £850

Schneidler’s unfinished master-work – except for vol. 3, a collection of fragments really - consists largely of illustrative material for a textbook of the graphic arts programme he taught and directed (with various specialist departmental heads) at the Stuttgart state academy of applied arts between the two world wars (and for a short time after 1946). The work is assembled mainly from sheets printed there between about 1925 and 1934. (Volume 3 appeared separately in 1934 but the work was not published as a whole until 1945.)

The material is gathered by subject. Vol. 1 consists mainly of studies in book typography; vol. 2 covers non-typographic lettering; vol. 3 is more focused and consists of designs for an edition of Horace: it is the only part of the work considered to have been completed; vol. 4 is chiefly devoted to illustration and ornament, with some packaging design.

The title is best translated as 'the water-carrier' and refers to the astrological sign of Aquarius whose characteristic personality traits Schneidler believed should be cultivated by the graphic arts student.

A small number of presentation copies of this work contain some extra sheets. This copy corresponds in extent to the Newberry Library copy described by Georgianna Greenwood below and was bought from Hoffmann at about the same time, in the early 1950s (Hoffmann’s original invoice is present). Fewer than a dozen copies of Der Wassermann can be located in European and North American institutional libraries and there seems to be only one in the UK, in Cambridge University Library.

Schneidler was the designer of the script typeface Legende and his powerful calligraphy provides some of the strongest material in Der Wassermann. More generally, the work reflects a continuing conservative tradition of graphic arts training (the ‘Stuttgart school’) and its negotiation with the forces of modernism.

Schneidler left a large body of graphic and fine artwork but he is perhaps best known as a teacher. Among his many notable students were Walter Brudi, Eric Carle, Albert Kapr, Imre Reiner and Georg Trump.



Georgianna Greenwood, ‘Der Wassermann by F.H. Ernst Schneidler, an appreciation’, in Alphabet: the journal of the friends of calligraphy, 26:1, Fall 2000. 32pp, with 31 illustrations selected by Paul Shaw.

Sandra Lauenstein, ‘Schindler’s opus magnum’, pp. 147ff, in Buch Kunst Schrift F.H. Ernst Schneidler, ed. by Nils Buttner et al., Stuttgart, 2013.

Der Wassermann is the subject of a small, Grolier Club online exhibition, with brief notes by Jerry Kelly:

The first article in the first number of Herbert Spencer’s modernist periodical Typographica is devoted to Schneidler’s experimental calligraphy, though the examples reproduced there are more recent than those in Der Wassermann which curiously goes unnoticed in G. K. Schauer’s (somewhat opaque) accompanying text.


Thursday 20 April 2023

The Fleuron

The Fleuron, nos. 1-7 [all published]. Ed. by Oliver Simon [later] Stanley Morison. London: At the Office of 'The Fleuron' [later] Cambridge: The University Press. 1923-30. 7 vols. 4to. 28 cm. Insets. Plates. Illusts. Vol. 1 quarter cloth, the rest full cloth. Boards to vol. 1 foxed, some spotting elsewhere, but generally a nice, crisp set, vols 2 & 3 in the original dustwrappers (head of vol 2 chipped). £650

'For me, collecting volume VII of The Fleuron from Zwemmer's in the Charing Cross Road was as heady an aesthetic experience as my first sight of Venice. For others, too. That notable wood engraver, Reynolds Stone...told me of a similar experience. Entering the Cambridge University Press as a trainee...he discovered that one of the printers there...Mr Nobbs, had a complete set of The Fleuron. That journal of typography changed Stone's life, and it changed mine.'

Robert Harling, from his foreword to Grant Shipcott, Typographical periodicals between the wars, Oxford Polytechnic Press, Oxford, 1980.

Friday 3 March 2023

A small press collection (3)

 1  ADANA [Printers’ suppliers] Catalogue [and Price List] of type, blocks, accessories, inks and publications. No. 316 [316B]. Twickenham, [1976-77].        2 vols. 8vo. Pp. 44; 28. Wrappers, wire-stitched. B3. £10

2  ALEMBIC PRESS. Oxford Guild of Printers Print-in [four broadsheet collections]. OGP members at the Alewmbic Press, Marcham, 1999-2003. 4to (A4) sheets printed one side only.

New year printers’ gatherings at Claire and David Bolton’s press. The work themed as follows: ‘Printers’ devices’, 6 leaves, including some gold printing, 1999; ‘Oxford’, 7 leaves, 2001; ‘Take a letter’, 9 leaves, 2002; and ‘Trees & wood’, 10 leaves, 2003. Some use of colour, woodletter, wood engravings, etc. S13. £25

3  DODMAN PRESS. Five small pieces comprising Travelling through. Extracts from the burial records of Barley in Hertfordshire, 1978, 65 copies; John Gohorry & Roger Burford Mason, Norfolk poems, 1978; and three ephemera including two Christmas cards. Hitchin, 1976-78. Small 8vo pamphlets, etc. Wrappers, wire-stitched. B3. £8


4  MANDEVILLE PRESS. FULLER (John), Lawrence SAIL, Andrew WATERMAN, et al., A Mandeville Fifteen. Hitchin, Autumn 1976. 8vo. Pp. [24]. Wrappers, wire-stitched. With 7 Mandeville Press fliers, 1975-77, and Peter Scupham, Building a cathedral, pp. [3], poem, signed by the author, laid in. B6. £8


5  ORDER OF SERVICE. Carols for printers at 6.00 p.m. Tuesday, 14th December 1976 at St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street in the City of London. Tall 8vo. Pp. [8]. Printed wrapper, wire-stitched. Sponsored by the BPIF, the NGA, NUJ, etc. Printed by Harrisons. B5. £5

6  PARDOE (F.E.) Four pieces from his press, comprising Edward Lowbury, The Ring [poem], 1979, 135 copies; R. G. Broadhurst, Twelve Engravings on Wood, 1978, 100 copies; fephorisms & flowers, 1977, 60 copies; and a Christmas card, 1977. Birmingham, 1977-79. 8vo and down. Printed wrappers. B4. £15 

7  PRIVATE PRESS Christmas and new year cards, 13 pieces, two hand-coloured, including Whittington Press, Jonathan and Phyllida Gili, Peter Guy. Late 1970s. Various formats. S13. £10

 8  WOOKEY HOLE MILL. SWEETMAN (John) Making paper by hand. Wells: St Andrew’s Press, 1977. 8vo. Pp. [12]. Printed on Wookey Hole Cream Wove Medium 34lbs h.m.p. Wrappers, wire-stitched. B3. £8

9  WYNKYN DE WORDE SOCIETY. A collection of pamphlets, menus and other ephemera, mostly 1975-78, including five substantial texts of talks, etc., by Max Reinhardt (on Nonesuch Press), Ward Ritchie, Nigel Tangye, et al., and including some nice work from the John Roberts Press. 13 pieces. B1. £15








Monday 13 February 2023

The plates on typefounding from the Encyclopedie

DIDEROT (Denis) & Jean Le Rond d’ALEMBERT, [Recueil de planches sur les sciences, les arts libéraux, et les arts méchaniques: avec leur explication…] Fonderie en caracteres d’imprimerie, précédée de la gravure des poinçons. Les deux arts contenant huit planches. [Paris, 1763]. Disbound folio. 425 x 275 mm. 3pp. letterpress text, in two columns, and 8 engraved plates. Excellent. £165

A nice fresh set of the plates on typefounding from the Encyclopédie.

Thursday 24 November 2022

A small press collection (2)

 1  CIRCLE PRESS. Ronald KING. Five prospectuses / announcements, for books published 1969-75. Guildford. Various sizes. Mostly single sheets printed both sides. Some differential fading. Comprising: The Song of Solomon, 1969, with gold, blue and black silk-screen print; Keith Waldrop, To the sincere reader, 1970, with three-colour print; Roy Fisher, Bluebeard’s Castle, 1972, 4pp. including pop-up construction by Ronald King; Axl Leskoschek, Brazilian Miniatures, 1974, with one woodcut; John Christie, Listen, 1975, with one two-colour print.  SOLD 

2  MIDSUMMER PRESS. Eight pieces, 1972-2002, including Christopher SMART, Jeoffry, oblong 8vo, 2002, one of 55 copies, wrappers; two miniatures: Wishes of an elderly man, 1983, one of 100 copies, wrappers, and The Fly, 1986, one of 50 copies, wrappers; together with two Christmas cards, two compliments slips, and Caedmon’s Hymn, small broadside, 1972.  £50

3  OFFICINA BODONI. Giovanni Mardersteig, 8.1.1892 – 27.12.1977. Keepsake printed in Dante type at the Stamperia Valdonega, Verona, for the Officina Bodoni exhibition at the British Library, London, August – October 1978. 240 x 172 mm. French-fold, pp. [4]. Orig. grey wrappers with printer’s device. Fine. B5. £10

4   ROBERTS (Bernard) The John Roberts Press. Jean Grolier, the Declaration of Independence, Mr. Updike, et al., typographic illustrations to an address given at the dinner of the Grolier Club. October 3rd 1972. Broadside folded to triptych. Pp. [4]. Together with The Oldest Firm in Clerkenwell Green, 1898-1974. [1974]. 8vo. Pp. 12. Illusts. Printed wrappers; and two signed Christmas cards. £25

Sunday 20 November 2022

A small press collection (1)

1  KIT CAT PRESS  [1958-1992]  A collection of pamphlets, broadsides and other ephemera, with some TLs and ALs from the printer, Kenneth Hardacre. Bushey, [later] Hunton Bridge, Herts. 1960-79. C. 45 pieces. A few duplicates. Various formats. £225

Principal contents:

INTERNATIONAL SMALL PRINTERS ASSOCIATION  Ispaventure. A joint publication by members of the publishing group. 1960. Sm. 8vo. 25 leaves of contributions by different presses. Printed card covers. Plastic comb back. Hardacre’s contribution is a characteristically elegant and perceptive, brief account of the work of Will Carter and the Rampant Lions Press.

   Octavo pamphlets, various sizes:

RIEU (E. V.) Three tortoise poems. 1964. With TLs.

HARDACRE (Kenneth) The private press in Hertfordshire. 2nd ed. 1971. One of 120 copies.

ROBSON (Jeremy) Travelling. 1972. 160 copies. One of 60 signed and numbered.

MARVELL (Andrew) Damon the mower. Four poems. 1975. 200 copies. With TLs.

LEWIS (Roy) Even Caxton had his troubles with the pickets. 1976. 180 copies.

MARVELL (Andrew) The garden. 1976. 200 copies. With ALs.

PULSFORD (Doris) Inner persuasions, 1977. 120 copies.

NOALL (Carrie) The daffodil, 1978. 180 copies.

PRIESTLEY (J. B.) Out of the ivory gate, 1978. 200 copies. With TLs.

MARVELL (Andrew) To his coy mistress, & other love poems. 1978. 185 copies.



Four-page leaflets, small octavo, mostly typographical notes addressed to the Publishing Group of the International Small Printers Association or (later) the British Printing Society. Nos. 1-13, mostly undated but early 1960s to late 1970s. With an accompanying short ALs: ‘Apart from my own file – this must be the only complete set in existence, for I can’t think anyone who has been in the BPS that long will have bothered to keep them.’


   Christopher Cat’s Commentary

The Hardacre family newsletter, similar in format and typographic approach to Comment. Nos. 11, 14 (pp. [19], wrappers, a holiday memoir), 15, 18, 19-26, 28, 30. One unnumbered. Many undated but 1965-76.


   Broadsheets, all 30 x 21 cm

Undated. ? late 1970s. Quotations on the nature of books and printing, and two poems:

LEWIS (John)  The successful practice of typography… [from Typography: design and practice]. Three colours. Two copies.

HESSE (Hermann)  Of the many worlds... Black and red.

ALDUS MANUTIUS  To a friend. I am hampered in my work… Black and green on light green paper.

WOOTTON (Sir Henry) The character of a happy man [poem].

MILTON (John) I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue…[from Areopagitica]. Black and red on cream paper.

HERRICK (Robert) To daffadills [poem]. Black and green on Conqueror laid paper.

Together with: three Xmas cards, three further TLs, various keepsakes, flyers, etc.

A most attractive collection, put together by one individual in the mid- to late 1970s, and including something of Kenneth Hardacre's voice in correspondence and printed commentary, as well as a broad representation of his typographic style.

Educated at Keighley Grammar School where he won a scholarship to Oxford, Kenneth Hardacre (1920-2000) was for most of his professional career Head of English at Bushey Grammar School. He founded the Kit-Cat Press in 1958. He developed an excellent typographic eye, learning from the best (see the first item listed above), and ever a reflective practitioner, he wrote about printing and other matters with wit and precision (he was a regular contributor to Roger Burford Mason’s Albion). He began with an Adana 8 x 5, later acquiring a Vicobold ‘art’ platen. He is an exemplary figure in the small press movement of the second half of the twentieth century. His printing archive is now in the John Johnson collection, Oxford.

2  SHOESTRING PRESS  the tragical death of a. apple pie, who was cut in pieces, and eaten by twenty-six little villains. Whitstable, 1966. 127/225 copies signed by the artist, Ben Sands. 28 linocuts in various colours. Crown 8vo. 7 ½ x 5 1/8 ins. Pp. [28]. Concertina-style folded sheets. Some inner margin show-through from the adhesive linen tape used to join the seven sheets, each consisting of 4pp. Loose in orig. wrapper, with a copy of the prospectus, all in the orig. mailing carton. £60

‘As far back as 1743, children were learning their ABC by reciting “A. Apple Pie”. This rhyme has now been designed as a block book of 27 original lino-cut characters, who are all “humanly” engaged in the activities which the rhyme describes.’ From the Prospectus.

Ben Sands (1920-2016). His son Matt has created a website dedicated to his father’s work,

3  SYCAMORE PRESS  Broadsheets, nos.1-30 [all published], Oxford, 1968-83. Landscape small folio with two inward vertical folds making a triptych, approx. 207 x 110 mm. 30 vols, each pp. [6]. Nos. 1-12 and 13-24 presented as sets in the original printed envelopes. V.g. Roberts, B1-30, B31-32. S4. £210

The Sycamore Press was the private press of the writer and academic John Fuller and his partner Prue Fuller and was active between 1968 and 1992. As well as publishing work by established authors such as W. H. Auden and Philip Larkin (his ‘Femmes Damnées’ is printed here for the first time), it also promoted many younger poets, including James Fenton and Craig Raine, who went on to achieve great success.

The poets printed here are, in order of publication, Roy Fuller, David Lehman, Harold Massingham, Peter Porter, Glyn Hughes, Thom Gunn, Alan Brownjohn, James Fenton, David Harsent, Gregory Rose, Bernard Bergonzi, Peter Levi, Michael Schmidt, Gavin Ewart, Peter Redgrove, Peter Scupham, John Mole, Nancy K. Sandars, John Cotton, Roger Mitchell, Douglas Dunn, Alan Hollinghurst, W.H. Auden, Andrew Motion, Michael Vince, Edward Larrissy, Philip Larkin, Craig Raine, Richard Freeman and Ted Burford.

Although most of the Broadsheets were printed in quite large numbers, typically between 350 and 400 copies, the two sets in printed envelopes, put together in 1970 and 1977, were published in only a handful of copies, perhaps no more than 30 of Broadsheets 1-12, and 48 of Broadsheets 13-24. In the late 1980s six complete sets were assembled in boxes made by the Oxford binders Maltby’s. See Robert Ryan, John Fuller and the Sycamore Press, a bibliographic history, 2010, pp. 118-19.

4  WORDS PRESS  Broadsheets, nos. 11-20. Bramley, 1975. These copies hors de commerce of a limited edition of 150 copies. 10 vols. 8vo. Pp. [4] printed one side of a broadsheet folded twice. V.g. in orig. printed paper band. £35

This unbroken run includes all five of the Denton Welch special numbers, together with Denton Welch: The Afterword by J. L. Chevalier who edited the material in Broadsheets 11-15, published here for the first time, from the Denton Welch holdings of the Harry Ransom Research Center, University of Texas.

The other broadsheets contain work by i.a. Michael Hamburger, Anne Beresford, Ruth Fainlight, Alan Sillitoe, Michael Horovitz and Frances Horovitz.