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.  £60

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.  £60

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. £30

Sunday, 20 November 2022

A small press collection (1)

1  KIT CAT PRESS  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.

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 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, providing something of Kenneth Hardacre's voice in correspondence and printed commentary, as well as typographic style.

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. £220

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. £40

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.

Friday, 4 November 2022

Some recent additions to stock

All books are in very good condition, unless otherwise stated. Postage is extra at cost.

 1  APPLETON (Tony) The writings of Stanley Morison. A handlist. With…essays by Brooke Crutchley and John Dreyfus. Brighton: Tony Appleton, 1976. 281/600 copies. 8vo. 24 cm. Pp. xix, 119. 403 entries. Orig. boards. D.w. With Appleton’s bookseller’s catalogue of his SM collection, with which the Handlist was originally issued. £18

3  CARTER (Harry) A view of early typography up to about 1600. Repr. with an intro. by James Mosley. London: Hyphen Press, 2002. 8vo. 22 cm. Pp. [22], xii, 138. Illusts. Flapped paperback. £75

4  The Fleuron, nos. 1-7 [all published]. A journal of typography. 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 qtr. cloth, otherwise full cloth. Vol. 1 boards foxed, some spotting elsewhere, but generally a nice set, vols 2 & 3 in orig. d.w. (vol. 2 chipped). £640

‘For me, collecting Volume VII of The Fleuron from Zwemmer’s bookshop 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, as it changed mine.’

Robert Harling, from the Foreword to Grant Shipcott, Typographical periodicals between the wars, Oxford, 1980.

5  LEWIS (John) Such things happen. The life of a typographer. Stowmarket: Unicorn Press, 1994. 8vo. 24 cm. Pp. xi, 212. Plates. Typographer at Cowell’s, tutor at the RCA, and much else (a great yachtsman). Eminently readable. Orig. boards. D.w. The first edition. £10

6  LINOTYPE & Machinery Ltd. Linotype faces. One-line specimens. London, 1923. 4to. 28 cm. Pp. 156. Orig. cloth. £10

7  LUND HUMPHRIES & Co. Ltd. A selection of types from the Country Press. Bradford, 1929. 8vo. 23 cm. Pp. xvi, 187. Orig. qtr. cloth. Boards. Ex-lib. Good. £10

8  MONOTYPE CORPORATION Ltd. Pages from books set on the ‘Monotype’ composing machine and published mainly in London 1928-1931. London, 1931. La. 4to. 31 cm. Pp. [xi], 97. Orig. buckram. £30

9  MONOTYPE CORPORATION Ltd. Spectrum roman and italic [front cover]. Designed by Jan van Krimpen. N.d. 4to. 28 cm. Pp. [16] printed in black and colours. Type specimen designed by Will Carter. Together with another specimen of Spectrum, pp. [4], and 11 other 4pp. specimens of Poliphilus, Baskerville, Garamond, Imprint, Fournier, Bembo, Bodoni, Ehrhardt, Plantin, Bell and Scotch Roman. £20

10  MORAN (James) Stanley Morison. His typographic achievement. London: Lund Humphries, 1971. 4to. 30 cm. Pp. 184. Numerous illusts. Orig. boards. D.w. £10

11  REED (Talbot Baines) A history of the old English letter foundries. With notes historical and bibliographical on the rise and progress of English typography. A new edition…by A. F. Johnson. London: Faber, 1952. Imp. 8vo. 28 cm. Pp. xiv, 400. Folding frontis. and 95 illusts. Pleasantly rebound in recent half morocco, cloth sides, marbled endpapers. Nice copy. £60

12  SIMON (Oliver) & Julius RODENBURG, Printing of today. An illustrated survey of post-war typography in Europe and the Unites States. London: Peter Davies, 1928. La. 4to. 34 cm. Pp. xix, 83 + [76] (full-page reproductions). Printed in black and colours. Orig. qtr. cloth. Boards. Ex-lib. Worn. Sound. £10

13  SPOTTISWOODE, BALLANTYNE & Co. [Printers] Printing types [1st & 2nd eds]. London, 1925-30. 2 vols. 4to. Pp. 52, [15]; 144. Orig. qtr. cloth, printed boards. Worn. Front hinge of first vol. partly broken, but holding. One minor excision. The principal interwar catalogues from this firm. £20

14  UPDIKE (D.B.) Printing types. Their history, forms and use. A study in survivals. 3rd ed. Cambridge, Mass., & Oxford: 1962. 2vols. 8vo. 24 cm. Pp. xlvi, 292; xix, 326. Numerous illusts. Orig. cloth. D.w. £40


Friday, 1 July 2022

Richard Gans, Catalogo general de tipos

GANS (Richard) [Fundicion tipografica] Catalogo general de tipos. Madrid-Barcelona, n.d. [c.1964]. 8vo. 24 cm. Pp. [viii], 48, 16, 49-130, 8, 132-62, 8, 163-226, 16, 227-345. With a small sheaf of supplementary sheets, wire-stitched. Orig. semi-stiff plastic cover with title 'Tipos Gans'. Excellent. S16. SOLD

Apparently the last substantial catalogue from this firm founded in the 1880s and closed in 1975. From the 1920s on it originated a number of new type designs, some of which were marketed in the Anglo-Saxon world, others only in Spain and Latin America. There is a short history in Spanish, drawing on the firm's archives, by J.R.P.Rodriguez & D.G.Moreno, 'Fundicion tipografica Richard Gans. Historia y actividad 1881-1975 (Valencia, 2004), available online as a pdf. A striking type specimen, notable for its bold use of colour and distinctive Latin quality, combining vividly modern with traditional elements.

Thursday, 30 June 2022

Apropos the Unicorn

THORP (Joseph) Apropos the Unicorn. A few candid notes. The Curwen Press, Plaistow, London, n.d. [1920]. 147 x 39 mm. Pp. 29. Printed in black and colours. Two tipped in colour plates and one large folding monochrome plate. Including decorations by Macdonald Gill, C. Lovat Fraser, Aldo Cosomati and others. Curwen device by Paul Woodroffe. Orig. orange and yellow patterned boards designed by Lovat Fraser. A nice copy. Scarce. £120

The first 'house' advertising booklet produced by the Curwen Press and one of the harbingers of the inter-war typographic revival. Herbert Simon, Song and Words,1973, pp. 138-41.

Wednesday, 13 April 2022

Some recent additions to stock

Albion. A journal for private press printers. Ed. by Roger Burford Mason et al. Vol. 1, no. 1 – vol. 12, no. 1 [= 34 issues, all published], this set lacking 11:1 & 12:1, issues 31 & 34. Hitchin, April 1977 – October 1987. 32 issues. 4to & 8vo. Orig. stapled semi-stiff boards, or wrappers. Very good. S7. £95

Albion was founded ‘to cater solely to the needs and interests of the private press printer’ (1:1). Its modest dress belied a consistently well written, lively and informative journal. Published three times a year, it consisted mainly of news, short articles on presses contemporary and historical, and reviews. Besides the editors, the three regular contributors were Kenneth Hardacre, George Szirtes and John Gohorry. An engagingly quirky view, strongly rooted in the small press poetry scene, of the private press revival in the last quarter of twentieth century. 

2  BASILISK PRESS. [GARRY (Charlene)] Basilisk Press and Bookshop Catalogue 1. Hampstead, London, 1978. 4to. Pp. 64 + 7pp. supplement (June 1979) and order form loosely inserted. 357 (+38) annotated entries. Orig. printed wrappers. Excellent. S7. £10

3  Baseline. International typographics journal. No. [12]. St Bride’s issue. Esselte Letraset, [1990]. 36 x 27 cm. Pp. 48. Paperback. Profusely illustrated, including James Mosley on ‘St Bride’s’, pp. 32-40; Victor Clark on Berthold Wolpe, pp. 20-25; pieces on the Black Sparrow Press and newspaper typography – and much else besides. Out of print. Excellent. S13. £22

4  _____. No. [14]. Sans Serif issue. [1991]. Pp. 48. Paperback. Profusely illustrated, including Mike Daines on ‘The Sans Serif and the Swiss Style’, pp.20-29 and Merlin James on the printing of Ornamented types, pp.42-45. Out of print. Excellent. S7. £22

5  _____. No. 52. Summer 2007. 35 x 24 cm. Pp. 52. Paperback. Profusely illustrated, including Arnold Schwartzman on ‘Connecting with Eric Gill’, pp.12-15, and David Jury on Curwen Press ornament, pp.36-43. In print at £30. Excellent. S7. £20

6  CURWEN PRESS. A Comprehensive List of Mono Borders for House use only [cover title]. [Plaistow]. N.d. [?1970s]. Sm. 4to. 24 cm. 9  leaves of mostly one-line specimens, 6-30pt, pp. 1-7, 7a, 8. Stabbed into a roughly made cloth case, possibly unfinished, the lower board bare and the whole without endpapers. £25

An interesting working specimen for in-house use including 22 proprietary Curwen borders (marked CM as distinct from M – for Monotype), one ‘For Peter Davies [the publisher] only’, 6-12pt.

7  DOWDING (Geoffrey) [General designer] [A large collection of the letterpress type reference cards published c.1955 to 1975 by Wace & Co., Printers]. Wace Group, 3-11 Eyre Street Gill, Clerkenwell, EC1. N.d. [c.1960]. Landscape sm. folio. 37 x 24 cm. Approx. 450 cards printed one side only. Including ‘Monotype’ and a wide range of (mostly display) foundry types presented in complete standard founts. Sold as found as a working collection: the set of cards covering the range of available sizes of a particular design may not be complete. Some cards slightly worn. Housed in two drop-back boxes. Unpacked weight 7.4 kg. £75

An unusually large collection of these type specimens which were standard references for British typographers for a generation from the mid-1950s. These appear to be the original design which was updated sometime in the late 1960s or early 1970. Almost all of the classic ‘Monotype’ book faces are here, together with a wealth of material from foundries including ATF, Amsterdam Typefounders, Bauer, Berthold, Ludwig & Mayer, Nebiolo, Stempel, Stephenson Blake, and Stevens, Shanks.

8  LONDON SOCIETY OF COMPOSITORS. The London Scale of Prices for Compositors’ Work. Agreed…February…1891…amended…1901… 1915. London: 7-9 St Bride Street, Ludgate Circus, EC, 1916. 8vo. 22 cm. Pp. 96. Orig. printed wrappers (worn with small loss). Terms and conditions spelled out in great detail, illuminating composing room organisation and practice. Including the scale for machine composition (pp. 48-59) originally agreed in 1896. Scarce. B6. £40

9  ‘Monotype’ Specimen Book No. 2 [cover title]. 4to. 28 cm. Loose leaves in screw-bolt, brown buckram binder. 9 leaves of prelims & approx. 250 leaves of specimens. Cover soiled and front hinge very worn, but just holding. Lower screw bolt missing. Long tear in first, blank, leaf. Much thumbed.

[together with]

Specimen Book of ‘Monotype’ Printing Types, Borders, Ornaments & Rules [cover title]. 4to. 28 cm. Loose leaves in screw-bolt, blue cloth binder. 4 leaves of prelims and approx.. 250 leaves of specimens. Hinges very worn but just holding. Much thumbed. £75

The indexes in the older volume are date-coded 1933-37 and the great majority of the specimens which have codes, 1937-40. In the later volume the specimens are dated over a much longer period, 1938-63, though the greater part of them belong to the first decade. These are very much working copies, the later specimen book, especially, adapted over time with additions and probably some deletions, as was of course intended. The two volumes were originally in the composing department of the Curwen Press. Unpacked weight 6.2kg.

10  TSCHICHOLD (Jan) et al. Sabon: Tschichold & Hochuli [cover title]. Blackhill: Corvus Works, 2021. One of 90 numbered copies for sale of an edition of 96. La. 4to. 390 x 275 mm. Pp. [28]. Insets. Mounted plates. Printed letterpress in black and colours on Zerkall, Hahnemuhle and Somerset Book papers. Qtr. cloth. Marbled paper boards. Spine label. New. £100

A magnificent specimen-album, with examples of the complete range of sizes, of Tschichold’s Sabon roman, incorporating first English translations of his 1967 essay for Stempel, Leben und Bedeutung: des Schriftschneiders Jakob Sabon and Jost Hochuli’s review of the type first published in Typografische Monatsblatter (1969), together with short texts by John Dreyfus, Ruari McLean, Jean Francois Porchez and others.





Tuesday, 15 March 2022

A collection of printing from woodblocks on a diversity of papers

WILLIAMS (Graham) A collection of printing from woodblocks on a diversity of papers. Charing: The Florin Press, 2021.

75 copies, 4to (A4) comprising: fifteen specials, nos. 1-5, 96 prints on 40 different papers (sold out); 6-15, 78 prints on 36 papers; and sixty standard copies, nos. 16-40, 61 prints on 31 papers; 41-75, 35 prints on 20 papers. All copies handprinted from the original woodblocks and including an 8pp Notes describing the contents of the nine formes and forty papers used.

The majority of the woodblocks are by Thomas Bewick and his school but the collection also features work by Graham Williams, Peter Forster, Simon Brett, John O’Connor and Monica Poole. Types employed include Lectura, Fry’s Ornamented, Molé Foliate, Scotch Roman, Pegasus, Rosart, Trump Medieval and Optima.

Each collection comes with a copy of Graham Williams’s book Understanding paper: assessment and permanence for artists & fine printers, 8vo, pp. 134, cloth, d.w., in which thirty-four of the (mostly hand- or mould-made, with a few machine-made) papers are independently assessed as to colour, pH value, strength, furnish (what the paper’s made of, including fibre content and any chemical additives) and printability. The book also includes notes on ink formulation and a glossary of paper terminology.

The stocks used for the collection come from inter alia Barcham Green (including two papers made specifically for the Florin Press), Lessebo Handpappersbruk, Moulin de Laroque, Richard de Bas, Twinrocker, St Cuthberts, Arches and Zerkall paper mills.

Several years in the making, A collection of printing from woodblocks is informed by a lifetime’s engagement with fine paper and the printing of woodblocks by hand. Photographs cannot do justice to these images. This is three-dimensional letterpress at its most complex and beguiling – and private press work of the best kind: exemplary, exploratory, instructive. 

I can offer special or standard copies as follows:

One of ten, nos. 6-15, 78 prints on 36 different papers, housed in a green cloth, drop-back box, printed label, gilt lettering piece, by the Abrams Bindery  


One of 35, nos. 41-75, 35 prints on 20 different papers, housed in a brown cloth, drop-back box, printed label, gilt back, by the Wayte Bindery  


*This is slightly more than the publisher’s price as I’ve chosen to upgrade the accompanying copy of Understanding paper provided with standard copies from paperback to cloth.

Also for sale separately, paperback copies of Understanding paper  



A full prospectus is available online at