Dunbar Hay Ltd 1935-40, and the achievements of Cecilia Dunbar Kilburn
by Simon Lawrence
Founded in 1936 by Cecilia Dunbar Kilburn and Athole Hay, this London gallery (the term shop was actually their preferred term) was created as a marriage bureau for promising young designers (mostly Royal College of Art graduates) and industry. Within four years it had closed for the war, and its stock and records destroyed by bombing. There is virtually no paper record, nor any photographs of the shop, but a 1979 lecture given by Cecilia Dunbar Kilburn (by then Lady Sempill) serves as a starting point to recreate the goods and ethos of the shop, which has been immortalised by a flamboyant two-colour trade card engraved by Eric Ravilious.
Lady Sempill's lecture is reprinted in full, with a memoir by her daughter Gabriel Sempill, and an essay of about 26,000 words by myself on the artists involved with the shop and their wares; it has been a fascinating effort. The book runs to 172 pages printed in colour by Northend Creative Print Solutions in Sheffield, bound in an unknown pattern taken from fabric sold in the shop. Of the 270 copies there will be 150 standard copies price £172. 120 specials will also contain an original copy of the Ravilious trade card, with a piece of hand-printed organdie fabric from Enid Marx's earliest days as an outstanding textile artist. The special copies, in a solander box, are priced at £425 (trade discount ten per cent on these) for all new orders; if you subscribed you got it rather cheaper! Both versions look outstanding.
I think this book will go out of print fairly soon.
When I was a Lad at the Bodley Head
Five Ravilious electrotypes rescued by Peter Guy
Out of the blue in 1999 our much-missed friend Peter Guy posted me a letter with five electrotypes of engravings by Eric Ravilious he had saved from the furnace while a young man working at the Bodley Head. They were used in the Nonesuch edition of Gilbert White's Natural History of Selborne. Four are hand-printed here in a small booklet with letterpress text, bound in marbled wrappers by Jemma Lewis. 90 copies, £42 each (£35 trade), plus £2 postage.
Dilige Deum: Love God and do what you will, a Beer stone inscription by Eric Gill
Lucy Wertheim, who ran a London gallery during the 1930s and who saw magic in the work of Christopher Wood, bought a stone inscription from Eric Gill during 1934. The two developed a friendship, and Gill spontaneously cut a small stone as a present for her which he initialled himself, an unusual act for him. This short book tells the story of their association, and the stone itself is reproduced, along with the design (and its translation) in Gill's hand, and two photographs of him. This is a Fleece Press first, since it is printed from photopolymer plates, and bound at the Press in a Japanese stab binding using four different paste papers made by Sage Reynolds thirty years ago:- about 50 copies bound in each of the varied designs. 185 copies, price £92. A prospectus has been made and sent out on 27th July; a few copies remain
Richard Bawden, His Life & Work
by Malcolm Yorke
Richard Bawden (son of Edward) is now 80, and during April-May the Fry Gallery of Saffron Walden are mounting an exhibition to celebrate Richard's supreme work in many media: watercolours, etchings, linocuts, cast iron, murals, glass engraving, mosaics and book illustration. Richard is extraordinarily adept at multicoloured lino prints, in particular, and it is a privilege to publish this, the first book on his work. Malcolm Yorke's biography traces Richard's life in Great Bardfield, through attendance at the Royal College of Art, and since then as a hard-working and dedicated artist working in whatever medium next presents itself. The book runs to 200 full-colour pages in a handsome square format, bound in quarter cloth with a patterned paper based on Richard's design; he has also drawn the frontispiece and title pages.
There are 55 special copies (50 for sale), housed in a slipcase and accompanied by a signed, single colour etching of Richard's own workshop made for the book. ALL SOLD.
While all new Fleece Press books garner lovely comments on publication, this one has brought out more, and stronger approval than is usual, which is pleasing.
280 standard copies are bound in quarter cloth and patterned paper, price £242. Postage is £10 (reduced). A letterpress prospectus is available on application.
Published in April 2016. A custom-made slipcase can be purchased from Chris Shaw, 01280 848818, or e.mail email@example.com
Runner-ip in the Best British Book category at the British Book Design & Production Awards, 2016.
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.
As a personal note the design and production of this book give me as much pleasure as any I have made. It is also refreshing to return to public notice a major artist whose work has been forgotten.
A prospectus is available, and the book was published in September 2015. A custom-made slipcase can be purchased from Chris Shaw, 01280 848818, or e.mail firstname.lastname@example.org
WINNER of the Limited Editions and Fine Binding category at the British Book Design & Production Awards, 2016.
Mr Kilburn's Calicos
William Kilburn's fabric printing patterns from the year 1800, by Gabriel Sempill and Simon Lawrence
Printed, bound and published at breakneck speed to coincide with World of Interiors' extensive feature on this book (October 2014 issue; the feature covered five pages), this is the full reproduction of a very important pocket book once owned by the great fabric designer and printer, William Kilburn (1745-1818). Hitherto known only for his highly elaborate and sumptuous chintz designs which are in the Victoria and Albert Museum, this pocket book includes 62 basic units for patterns which could be built up and repeated on a larger scale for dress material. It is a most exciting find, and Kilburn included notes of variant colourways and orders; the notebook's subsequent use by a great grandson as a child's scrapbook ensured its survival.
The book comprises a letterpress introduction, with the entire notebook being reproduced in the second half. There is a separate booklet of 16 patterns printed full-page, made up from Kilburn's original units by Sholto Drumlanrig, and both the book and booklet are housed in a beautiful solander box. There are three variant bindings of quarter cloth with one of three different Kilburn patterned papers over boards. Available now, price £175 plus £5 postage.
Shown above are the the detailed pattern units from William Kilburn's album, as a composite image.
Winner of the Fine Bindings and Limited Editions section of the British Book Design & Production Awards, awarded on Thursday 25th November, 2015 in London.
Edward Walters, printer-engraver
by Richard Russell, with a revised bibliography by John Gray and a biographical note by Tom Walters
Edward Walters, wood engraver and publisher who ran his own private press in the 1930s, also taught at Marlborough School and had links to St Dominic’s Press, along with various presses operated by religious orders. His work has been shown in several issues of Matrix, but it is high time his work is recorded in book form.
Tom Walters has written a short biographical note on his father, and has been able to provide photographs which handsomely augment the mere three previously known. Richard Russell was taught to print while at Marlborough by Walters, 70 years ago, and here writes of his debt to this unassuming and modest man. John Gray has produced a revised bibliography of the printed work, including Walters’ ephemera, enlarging Brocard Sewell's previous checklist. A whopping 120 letterpress pages, 50 blocks (and 40 inserted colour illustrations), yes, printed letterpress and now available.
There are 225 copies (200 for sale), and the price is £192. A prospectus has been sent to regular customers - please ask if you would like one.
A custom-made slipcase can be purchased from Chris Shaw, 01280 848818, or e.mail email@example.com
A Catalogue Raisonne of the intaglio prints of John Buckland Wright
by Christopher Buckland Wright
News, 20.11.14. At the British Book Design and Production Awards dinner in London, the Press was awarded the Book of the Year award for Sensuous Lines
Collectors of the Press' books will know that five books relating to the work of John Buckland Wright have appeared under this imprint, and have been among the most successful publications. Christopher Buckland Wright, the artist's son, has gathered together surviving copper plates left in the artist's studio at the time of his death, and has compiled a full catalogue of all the engravings which JBW made, both for book illustrations and as autonomous prints; some of the artist’s work in metal is considered to be at the pinnacle of his achievements.
A detailed prospectus was sent out in November 2013 (copies available on request). Over 400 prints are listed in this lovely book, and all those originally intended for publication (including rejected plates) are shown. These are the extra plates (ie prints made from these plates accompany the special C copies, but are shown in all versions of the book in reproduced form; the second print in the first row below is the tipped-in frontispiece in both B and C editions):
The book runs to 284 pages, in three editions:
A: 100 standard copies, full-bound in cloth with a paper label (£212)
B: 220 copies which include an original tipped-in copper engraving printed by Anthony Dyson at his Black Star Press, used as frontispiece (the second one in the top row above). Quarter cloth and beautiful marbled sides (in a false Suminagashi pattern) made in Madrid by Antonio Velez Celemin, housed in a slipcase (price £292)
C: 40 special copies which include an extra four original prints (ie five in all), housed in a separate folder. Quarter bound in vellum and enclosed in a clamshell box (price £712)
Published in May 2014, all C copies fully subscribed.
Tom Chadwick and the Grosvenor School of Modern Art
by Julian Francis
One of my treasured prints is The Introduction, a wood engraving of two Balinese men introducing fighting cocks to each other, by Tom Chadwick. Tom died at an early age – just 30 – while fighting at El Alamein in the Second World War, but in his short life had managed to engrave images of the highest quality. Taught at Iain Macnab’s Grosvenor School of Modern Art, Chadwick was also a talented painter, and more besides. Julian Francis has made a special study of Chadwick’s life and work, and it forms the first monograph on this important artist. Few such monographs are as carefully researched as this one.
With such a short life and relatively limited body of work, Chadwick’s prints are rarely seen, so it is delightful that most of his best blocks survive in printable condition and are included here in the special copies, tipped-onto the page. One of them is Derby Day, of which a rough print is shown above; it is an astonishing piece of work as are the other surviving blocks.
The text and colour illustrations of this bold book were printed at J. W. Northend in Sheffield; it is a square format (give or take 2 mm) and this was chosen carefully to display Chadwick's work to best advantage. There are 210 special copies of the book, containing 16 tipped-in engravings printed from the wood (price £365; a slipcase is included). All copies contain one of Chadwick's very best engravings – Wayside Laundry – printed from the block, as a frontispiece; and the 160 standard copies contain reproductions of all the same engravings shown in the special copies, tipped-in in the same way (price £192, no slipcase).
This is one of my finest books, and everything has come together in what seems to me exactly the right way.
Long Live Great Bardfield, & Love to You All
The Autobiography of Tirzah Garwood
edited by Anne Ullmann
Planned for seven or eight years, this is be a monumental production based on the Autobiography which Tirzah Garwood, the wife of Eric Ravilious, wrote when she was coming toward the premature end of her life. Tirzah has a facility in her writing for perceptive observation of the world around her, and I would happily rate her story alongside Gwen Raverat's Period Piece, while being substantially longer and more detailed. The section on life in Great Bardfield during the 1930s, among the unique artistic community is a fascinating first-hand, slightly detached account of a precious and outstanding group of artists.
The text has been transcribed from a number of Tirzah’s handwritten notebooks, and edited by her daughter Anne Ullmann; she has in addition written a separate critical study of Tirzah's work, which will be published after this volume (in a further separate volume, since the Autobiography is very substantial, and demands wide-ranging illustrations of work other than Tirzah's own).
Writing in The Times, which printed a full page review on April 21st 2012, John Russell Taylor wrote 'Long Live Great Bardfield is the latest in a distinguished line of books from Simon Lawrence's Fleece Press. The design and workmanship are, as ever, exquisite, and the text is of absorbing interest. . . . This belated encounter is a delight from every point of view.'
304 pages, bound in quarter patterned paper (designed by Tirzah) with a cloth spine and paper label, there are 550 copies, of which 475 are for sale.
I ofen feel that books I publish have been a privilege to bring into the world, Long Live Great Bardfield being no exception. A detailed prospectus is available and copies are available, price £234. Only about twenty copies remain available.
A custom-made slipcase can be purchased from Chris Shaw, 01280 848818, or e.mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Today I worked well – the picture fell off the brush. The artistry of Leslie Cole
by Malcolm Yorke
Leslie Cole, who trained under Bawden and Ravilious at the Royal College of Art in the 1930s, produced some of the finest paintings when appointed an Official War Artist, and his watercolours are especially fine, many in a Ravilious mould. Cole travelled through Germany (recording the scenes of horrific trauma at Belsen a week after its liberation), France, Malta and the Far East, where he recorded the action in Borneo and Singapore, a theatre of the war largely forgotten by Europeans today. Cole’s work was the equal of any other war artist, and yet he was unable, for personal or other reasons, to maintain the momentum after the war, when he seems to have slid very slowly downhill, and his early promise was unfulfilled.
Cole’s wife Brenda had a very colourful teenage history, being the chief prosecution witness for the Church of England when they prosecuted the Rector of Stiffkey for importuning young girls. She disguised this past very ably through her life and may not even have told her husband. Her identity – kept secret even when the BBC tried to find her in the 1980s – was revealed to friends before she died, and for the unconvinced, a meticulous genealogical investigation by Christopher Whittick and Julian Moore ties up the details very neatly. It is a lovely book, capturing the great work of an artist who should be celebrated.
200 pages with over 130 colour illustrations, the book is quarter bound in cloth and beautiful blue marbled paper made by Louise Brockman. There are 500 copies, price £212, plus £6 postage. A prospectus is available on request.
To War with Paper and Brush: Captain Edward Ardizzone,
Official War Artist
by Malcolm Yorke
Published in October 2007, this is another of the major four-colour books printed out-of-house but entirely conceived, organised, designed and typeset by one person (as all my books are); together with the author Malcolm Yorke, whose earlier book for the Press on Edward Bawden was so successful, this is an important new book, and its design is perhaps the one which gives me most satisfaction. Ardizzone's Diary of a War Artist has hitherto been the only book relating to his wartime experiences in many British locations as well as on the front line in France, Belgium, Italy, North Africa, Sicily, Denmark and Germany; it consists of the edited diaries which the artist kept. To War with Paper and Brush traces and assesses his extraordinary wartime path, and is illustrated with a great many original watercolours, line-drawings and photographs.
The book runs to 162 pages, and in true Fleece Press style is very heavily illustrated. Printed in Sheffield by J. W. Northend on the uncoated but smooth and classy Monadnock Dulcet paper in an edition of 600 copies (the colophon mistakenly reads 700), all copies are bound in full Record Leinen cloth with an accompanying slipcase. The book is £212 (slipcase included), with postage £6.
Copies of the book block, sewn but without boards or endpapers, can be supplied for binding; see the Special Offers page.
A detailed prospectus has been made for this book and will be sent on request. For a perceptive review of the book and assessment of the Press' books, see the Spectator review by Paul Johnson here: http://www.spectator.co.uk/the-magazine/columnists/3454556/and-another-thing.thtml His final sentence reads 'Lawrence is a public benefactor in making the work of such artists as Ravilious and Ardizzone more generally available, and I salute his achievement.'
John Swarbrick's List of Wharfedale Flies, 1807
with an introduction by Leslie Magee
Trout fishermen using fishing flies carefully made from feathers to imitate tasty insects have for centuries favoured the River Wharfe for their sport, standing in deep pools to cast their line upstream; John Swarbrick's List of Flies for the River Wharfe, written in 1807, existed only as manuscript copies passed down within local families until it was printed in 1907, but copies of this are excessively rare. The list is the earliest one which gives details of the dressings for the flies, and their uses. The descriptions nicely suited a miniature book, almost one to a page, with each fly (there are 30) photographed and reproduced on fold-out pages printed by J. W. Northend. There are several illustrations by Joan Hassall; and Leslie Magee, who is a well-known expert on Yorkshire fishing flies, has provided an introduction.
Printed at the Fleece Press in 7pt Monotype Garamond set by Harry McIntosh in Edinburgh, on blue 1950s handmade paper, bound in marbled paper made in 1995 by Compton Marbling.
There is only one miniature book in the world which also bears actual fishing flies, and Swarbrick's List of Wharfedale Flies is the second. Each standard copy has one fly sewn into a recess in the back board and one sewn into the front board, and 100 deluxe copies show all thirty in a specially-constructed binding design made by Ken and Joyce Smith, my co-publishers, housed in an oak box made by Stephen Byrne. 260 standard copies (£64; all sold) and 100 specials (£485, a few available), split equally between Ken Smith Publishing and the Fleece Press. A prospectus with a sample image, though fewer details than here, is also available.
Simon Lawrence, The Fleece Press, 95 Denby Lane, Upper Denby, Huddersfield HD8 8TZ
Telephone 01226 792200