An occasional newsletter

News on progress on forthcoming books and events.
Hinton Charterhouse, Bath, UK

April 2008


a new title
An Italian Dream

Dickens visits Venice . . . or does he?

Summer 2008

read the next news item on this title

For various reasons there will have been quite a gap between our last publication, Henry James Sat Here, and our next major work, Palladio's Homes. I have had the text of An Italian Dream sitting in the to-do pile for some time and I have decided to do it now whilst things come together on Palladio's Homes.

I can't remember how, but I once stumbled on Dickens's description of the Basilica of St Mark in Venice. It seemed to capture the atmosphere so perfectly - 'I thought I entered the Cathedral, and went in and out among its many arches: traversing its whole extent. A grand and dreamy structure, of immense proportions; golden with old mosaics; redolent of perfumes; dim with the smoke of incense; . . .'. Thanks to a combination of search engines on the internet I tracked it down to his Pictures of Italy, and to chapter VII in particular: An Italian Dream. In this chapter, Dickens describes his visit to La Serenissima as if remembering a dream that happened between two other, more prosaic stops on his tour. 'In the luxurious wonder of so rare a dream, I took but little heed of time, and had but little understanding of its flight. But there were days and nights in it; and when the sun was high, and when the rays of lamps were crooked in the running water, I was still afloat, I thought: plashing the slippery walls and houses with the cleavings of the tide, as my black boat, borne upon it, skimmed along the streets.' The Gutenberg Project has made this text accessible online, so I have been able to use that as the digital original from which Harry McIntosh has cast the type directly. Once again, one of our books has been Monotype set without ever being keyed!

Some years ago I bought a stock of part-sheets of a crisp Amalfi hand-made paper that once belonged to the September Press, and this seems the right moment to use some of it. The sheets fold down twice to a small, tall page. I have still to do some tests with the paper - I'm not sure if it will print dry or will need to be dampened - but I hope it will work with the 12pt Poliphilus that Harry has cast and which arrived today, well protected in a heavy-duty builder's bucket, lengthening the arm of the delivery person by some inches: 'Bucket of cement, sir?' came the cheery greeting - 'More or less' seemed the simplest non-committal sort of reply. It's always a pleasure to receive the type for a new book, and I spent a pleasurable afternoon unpacking the type and paginating it ready for making up formes.

I shall be using a straightforward binding consisting of a pair of boards hinged ready for the 16pp section to be sewn in, and I have an appropriate atmospheric photograph taken on a recent visit to Venice for the front cover. The end papers will be a Magnani handmade to complement the Amalfi and complete the Italian theme.

The price is still to be finalised but I think that something between 35 and 40 will be about right, and the edition will probably be 120 copies. There will be a formal announcement in a future newsletter but do let me know if you would like to reserve a copy (even if provisionally). Existing subscribers will receive a copy with the compliments of the Press.


a note about

where The Old School Press will be appearing

Contemporary Craft Fair
Bovey Tracey, Devon
5-8 June 2008





Handmade 2008
The Assembly Rooms, Bath
20-22 June 2008

Oxford Guild of Printers Wayzgoose
Langdale Hall, Witney,
5 July 2008

The Contemporary Craft Fair is being held in Mill Marsh Park, Bovey Tracey, Devon in June. Bovey Tracey is only two miles off the A38 Exeter to Plymouth Expressway in Devon, UK. Leave the A38 at Bovey Tracey turn at Drumbridges roundabout and follow signs to The Contemporary Craft Fair. There is free parking on the site. Let me quote from the brochure to tempt you: 'With 160 leading makers of contemporary craft heading to the sumptuous hills of South Devon, it couldn't be a more idyllic setting. Expect to be sorely tempted by the finest pieces of jewellery and furniture, the sleekest bespoke leather handbags, fabulous fashions and interior products in ceramic, silver, glass, wood, metal and textiles. The only thing the exhibitors have in common is quality and individuality AND you get to meet and buy the work direct from the maker.' And, yes, we shall be the only people making books! As well as the exhibitors there are plenty of demonstrations to vary the fare.

There is a private view starting at 1800 on 5 June; if you would like an invitation please let us know asap. The fair is open 1000-1700 on each of the three subsequent days.

If you would like an invitation to Handmade 2008 in Bath later in June, please let me know and I shall send one - be sure to send me a mailing address.

For the second time in recent years, the Oxford Guild of Printers is holding a wayzgoose, this time in Witney. Private presses large and small will be there selling their wares and there will also be printing-related stuff for sale - we shall (probably) be taking some small founts that are surplus to requirements, as well as posters and a rack of wood furniture. Easy parking and lots for partners to do in Witney while the print-maniacs shop and talk shop. More details closer to the day.


The Fine Press Book Association

An invitation to join

The Fine Press Book Association has just published issue 14 of its established journal Parenthesis. If you are not already a member, can I encourage you to join? The FPBA publishes two issues of the journal each year for members: 64pp, illustrated and packed with articles, reviews, and listings about everything to do with contemporary and recent fine printing. This issue is the first from the new editor, Sebastian Carter (of Rampant Lions Press), and very fine it looks and reads. Contact me if you would like a membership application form.


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Copyright Martyn Ould 2008