It’s always nice when our work gets attention, and even nicer when it’s favourable, so we were very pleased to see the review of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde on the Book Blog. As well as being well-researched it features a number of nice photos of the book.
Archive for the 'letterpress' Category
We’d like to use our collection of Monotype matrices to make type for people, so we’ve started Hand & Eye Foundry. We’re selling quarter-founts of anything we have in sizes up to and including 14 pt for £25.00 plus postage and packing. We’ll be making a dedicated web site for it if we get sufficient response, and in the meantime you can see what we’re up to on Twitter. In the last couple of days we’ve picked up 80 followers and have had an enquiry from someone looking for some Porson Greek.
We’ll be selling sundries like leads, spaces and quoins too, and we can set your copy and supply the type for you to print.
On 20 and 21 January everything on our poster website, www.letterpressposters.co.uk, will cost only £25.00 plus postage and packing, a reduction of 50% on many items.
What are you waiting for?
The biennial Oxford Fine Press Book Fair was held last weekend, and one of our exhibits was our edition of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. We’ve been rather quiet about that book for a while, because shortly after publication last year we found a serious typographic error. We reprinted the text over the summer, and had Angela Barrett’s illustrations reprinted by Northend Creative Print Solutions, who did an outstanding job. We’re very pleased with the result, so it was particularly gratifying that Angela was the sole winner the Parrot Prize for illustration at the fair.
text/gallery have asked us to take part in Imaginary Menagerie, their forthcoming exhibition of tongue twisters. Mary Plunkett, who is with us from Dublin on a three month Leonardo de Vinci project grant, is making two prints with wood type. You can see them at the gallery from 20 October to 22 November, and we’ll be posting photos of them too.
Henry Robertson Bowers was a member of Robert Scott’s second Antarctic expedition, and one of the party of five who reached the South Pole in January 1912. He kept a diary throughout his time in Antarctica. It is now the property of the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, who are publishing it for the first time. We are delighted that they have chosen us to print the book. It will be set in Monotype Imprint, issued by the Monotype Corporation in 1912.
The book is currently being planned. It will probably be set in 10/11 point, and we’re doing tests, calculations and estimates to decide on paper and number of pages.
We intend to Tweet about the project as it progresses.
Sometimes we’re given a job that is truly horrible, and we had one on press yesterday. There really is nothing positive to say about the copy or the design, and there’s rather a lot that’s negative. It would be indiscreet, and bad business, to say it, and our customer may find it a thing of beauty. We certainly hope they’re happy with our printing. But really…
We recently bought twenty-five cases of second-hand type. We were looking for scrap to melt down to ingots, but some of it was too good to let go. Like this 18 pt Engraver’s Roman, large and small face, from Stephenson Blake. There’s quite a lot of wood letter too, which we’ll tell you more about when we’ve been able to go through it.
At the end of February we wrote that we were having the cylinder of our Heidelberg SB renovated. We were premature. The engineer did come, and a series of height measurements showed that the cylinder was too worn to be worth repairing. It would have to be replaced. We talked to a couple of specialist engineers, and the offer we liked best was for a thorough inspection of our present machine to see if it was worth spending more on it. So, at the beginning of March, Mark came down from Senior Graphics. He told us about broken pinion teeth and worn compression screws. Even more expensive, and if the work was done there were still other things that could go wrong. The bullet was bitten, and we ordered a fully refurbished, part-exchange replacement.
Yesterday was the big day, and our picture shows Mike from Seniors guiding the new machine through the doorway. Clicking on the picture will take you to our Flickr album of the old press being taken out and the new one coming in.
We’re particularly pleased that we’ve got a press that was previously used by Gwasg Gregynog. We are assured that it was in beautiful condition when Mike took it out, and he has stripped it right down, replaced what was worn and fitted new electrics. It looks, and smells, like a new machine.
Swapping the machines over only took a couple of hours, but then the guards and tables that had been taken off for transit had to be put back on, and the lovely new set of rollers put in. It’s a fiddly job, and probably the longest single part of the whole operation. We were finally ready for a test print in the middle of the afternoon.
Was it all worth it? The test printing was very promising. We used a forme that had already been printed on the old press, and we got to a point where it was looking very good without a single piece of make ready. We had previously spent the best part of two hours making it ready. We ran twenty or thirty sheets through twice, and the register was so good that the two printings couldn’t be seen under a magnifying glass. Running a few jobs over the next few days will tell us whether it’s living up to our high expectations.
We’ve just added two quarter-founts of 24 pt Gill Sans Italic to our ebay store. We’d hired the matrices for a job of our own, so we’re selling the founts at a price that is unlikely ever to be repeated. We’ve used the Monotype Corporation’s quarter-fount scheme, 10A 18a. The type is gloriously new and shiny from our Supercaster, and we’ve printed special labels for our fount boxes.
As for our own job, that’s something we’ll be telling you about here when it’s ready.