An occasional newsletter
News on progress on forthcoming books from the Press
Hinton Charterhouse, Bath, UK

April 2004

To my alarm I discover that the last newsletter was in October last year!

now available:

Stanley Morison
& 'John Fell'

The story of the writing and printing of a masterpiece of printing in the 'Fell types' in the twentieth century: Stanley Morison's John Fell, the University Press and the 'Fell' Types published by Oxford University Press in 1967

now in print

read the previous news item on this title

On the Thursday before the Oxford Fine Press Book Fair last November (2003) I collected the first fifty bound copies of the standard edition from Mark and Nancy Horne at Salisbury Bookbinders. Nothing like a solid deadline to focus minds! The Fair was, as ever, a wonderful weekend, with the chance to meet customers and other presses.

It proved more pleasurable than usual as Stanley Morison &'John Fell' was one of five books chosen for Judges' Choice Awards. Having researched, written, designed, and printed the book, I felt it added to the pleasure of selling a good number of copies at the Fair.

There has been a considerable delay in getting the de luxe copies bound. But they are now here. As with The Fell Revival, the de luxe copies contain a portfolio of additional material, twelve items in all. They include showings of Fell types and flowers, further leaves from books in Fell, a transcription of Morison's letter/advert to The Times, and more. If you visit our website you can download a PDF listing the items. The book is bound in quarter burgundy leather, picking up one of the colours of the marbled paper by Ann Muir on the boards. I asked Ann to use the same colours as appeared on the boards of The Fell Revival, but using a 'stone' style of marbling. Book and portfolio come in a slip-case.

Pricing can be found at our website, as can the full history of its production, a sample of the dozen tipped-in photographs, photographs of the book itself including an extract, and photographs of the materials that the book describes. If you haven't received an announcement for the book and would like one, please respond to this email and let us know, or order one using the contact form at our website.

now available

Fedor Tiutchev

Fourteen poems by the Russian poet Fedor Tiutchev, translated by Avril Pyman, with engravings on vinyl by Kirill Sokolov.

now in print

read the previous news item on this title

Also available just in time for the Oxford Fair, I'm pleased with how this has turned out. I've kept the price low, and I think it represents excellent value for money. If you like strong type and images on lots of white space you will love this!

There are just 100 copies with only sixty for sale.The price is £20 (US$40, Euro40).

recent progress on

Harry Carter, Typographer

A tribute to an unsung English typographer, by Martyn Thomas, John A Lane, and Anne Rogers

October 2004

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With the Oxford Fair behind us, I have been able to turn to the next two projects at the Press. This new text - Harry Carter, Typographer - has been in the air for a while. It was prompted by Martyn Thomas's desire to see Harry Carter's life and work marked in a more significant way than has been done so far. Small items have been published about him, but nothing on a scale warranted by his achievements. It has been interesting how many people have said, on hearing of the project, 'It's about time something was published about the man.' That time has come.

First drafts of the text have been circulated, and, reading them, I for one have been surprised by how little I knew of how much Carter accomplished. We have had lots of help from family and colleagues and it has been very exciting to see how the book has developed over time. We have some splendid photographs of Carter through his lifetime, and will be reproducing a fine triple portrait of Carter done by wood-engraver George Buday.

We are very fortunate to be able to pair Martyn's biographical sketch with an exhaustive handlist of Carter's writings and reviews of his work. Distinguished type historian, John A. Lane, had for some years been preparing the handlist, and Anne Rogers has taken Lane's material, and, with his assistance, prepared it for publication. A total of about 200 items are listed, from his book Printing Explained with Herbert Simon, his books on Wolvercote Mill, Orlando Jewitt, and Oxford University Press, through to his own translations from the Greek of the Histories of Herodotus of Halicarnassus, and his edition of Boccaccio's The Decameron. The list underlines the breadth and depth of Carter's output.

I have always seen this book as the third in what may become a longer series. For this reason, it will match its two predecessors - The Fell Revival and Stanley Morison &'John Fell' - in size and style of binding. This makes some decisions, such as page size and layout, quick and easy. The cloth will be a different colour, this time picking out the green in the colour scheme of the marbled papers that Ann Muir has done for The Fell Revival and more recently Stanley Morison & 'John Fell'. The style of the marbling will be different again: I suspect a rather fine French comb to echo Carter's constant attention to detail! It will have a dust-jacket, this one with a line-drawing portrait of Carter, similar in style to that of Stanley Morison on the jacket of Stanley Morison &'John Fell'. The text will be in Jan van Krimpen's elegant Romulus, and printed on Mohawk Superfine as the other two books.

I still have to finalise the price but I currently anticipate a slight increase from the earlier estimated figure to about £70 (Euro115, US$140), with de luxe copies about £140 (Euro200, US$280), and sheets about £40 (Euro65, US$85). The disproportionate rise in the US dollar price has been made necessary because of the fall in the dollar's value over the last year, and bank conversion charges. On the positive side, the extent of the book has increased from 60 to about 100 pages and will now additionally include about a dozen tip-ins.

recent progress on

The Bricks of Venice

A new study of the brickwork of Venice with over seventy watercolours.

October 2004

read the previous news item on this title
read the next news item on this title

This project has been bubbling away in the background whilst the Stanley Morison book was in production. It now vies for my attention alongside the Harry Carter book. My ambitious plan is to have them both ready for the Oak Knoll Book Fair in October this year.

When eminent cardiologist Peter Harris died a couple of years ago he left behind him the text of a study he had made of the mediaeval brickwork of Venice, complemented with scores of his own exquisite watercolours. If you would like to view a couple of his watercolours, visit our website and look for the entry for the book in the 'news' section. Peter had lived for seven years in Venice with his wife Francesca, in an apartment near the Ca' d'Oro overlooking the Grand Canal - an enviable location - whilst he was editor of a professional journal. The quality of the work is such that his wife and family and friends were very keen to see it published, and that is one of my tasks for this year. I've been lucky enough to meet Francesca and to discuss the book with her. The whole project acquires a much more personal dimension, especially as I never had the chance to meet Peter Harris himself. She visited the Press in Hinton Charterhouse, and we met recently for tea in Oxford where she handed over the precious original watercolours.

I have edited the text which runs to about a hundred pages - it is a considerable essay. Peter himself chose the watercolours he wanted to use, from a great many that he did. Production details are sketchy at the moment, but this will be a special book, and probably in a smaller edition than our normal run. The watercolours will be scanned and then printed on fine paper using archival quality inkjet printing; the results these days are quite extraordinary and - as with Jump of the Manta Ray - it's wonderful to be able to combine a text printed in a way that Gutenburg would have recognised with images printed in a way that would have looked like some form of sorcery to him! I suspect the typeface will be Monotype Bembo, printed letterpress of course, and hand-done Venetian papers will find their way into the binding somewhere.

As Peter writes: 'The small bricks thought to be characteristic of Venetian building in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries are still known as altinelle. But to what extent they were plundered from the ruins of Altinum, as Temanza suggests, is in some doubt. In any case, it is clear that many were manufactured within the islands. A document of 1357 on the price of bricks refers to 'the little bricks that they make in Venice.' I have half an idea to include one in the binding of some copies!

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Copyright © Martyn Ould 2004.