An occasional newsletter about forthcoming books and events

April 2014


we shall be at
turn the page

artists' book fair

2-3 May 2014
The Forum

We don't think of ourselves as makers of artists' books per se, but we do have some books illustrated with the work of artists! I suspect we shall be at the more conservative end of the work on display at turn the page 2014. If you would like to see something a little different, we look forward to seeing you there.


our books will be on show at  


fine printing finely bound: a travelling exhibition of the Designer Bookbinders

14 May to 22 August 2014
St Bride Library, London
then Harvard, Minneapolis, New York, and San Francisco

This travelling exhibition opens, fittingly, at St Bride Library on 14 May. A number of DB binders chose to bind sets of sheets from the Old School Press for this exhibition, in particular Palladio's Homes, Antigone, and Tonge's Travels.

I have always thought it a shame when exquisite bindings are constructed to clothe indifferent printing, perhaps a greyish, litho-printed text on a cheap paper full of optical brighteners. The drama of the exterior is dampened by the drabness of the interior when the book is opened.

To counter this, the Designer Bookbinders have led the way in many of their competitions in recent years by having as their set book a publication from the Folio Society which has brought high production values albeit in a 'trade' book. They took a further step a few years back by commissioning Incline Press to print an edition specifically for a competition, giving binders a hand-printed object on which to exercise their own handicraft. Now, in their InsideOUT exhibition, they have gone another step and invited their members to bind sheets from private presses on both sides of the Atlantic, and the results are terrific.

The resulting exhibition opens at St Bride Library in London on 14 May and runs until 22 August. It then moves to the Houghton Library (Cambridge, MA) 11 September to 13 December; Minnesota Center for Book Arts 10 January 2015 to 28 March; Bonhams in New York 10-19 April 2015; and finally San Francisco Center for the Book 6 June to 5 July 2015.

DB are to be applauded in particular for giving due attention in the exhibition to the printed text that has been bound, with sample sheets of a book displayed with the binding. And here perhaps we may detect a conundrum for the binder. The designer-printer takes a raw text and presents it to the reader, choosing type and layout, and, if you believe in Warde's 'crystal goblet', their typography must allow the text through and not obscure it with artifice. Can the designer-binder be as reticent? Have these binders clothed the text without distracting us with overpowering artifice? It's a tricky one. But the bindings are something to behold!

Many of the bindings are for sale and if you can't afford them there's an excellent, well illustrated catalogue covering both them and the presses involved.


and our books will be at
London Antiquarian Book Fair

in the 'LIVE!' display

22-24 May 2014
National Hall, Olympia

Thanks to the work the work of Martin Morgan of Extraordinary Editions, the FPBA is hosting a communal presence of presses in the LIVE! section of this prestigious event and The Old School Press will be represented, in particular by Stockholm Reflections, Palladio's Homes, and The Colours of Rome.

Not just a lot of old books in glass cases with nasty prices on them, the LIVE! section involves a programme of demonstrations, workshops, talks, and seminars. There will be wonderful books from The Old School Press, Inky Parrot, Artist's Choice Editions, Hand & Eye Letterpress, Caliban Press, Gateway Publishing, Sherwin Beach Press, Susan Allix, Books Illustrated, The Folio Society, Lytewode Press, Queen Anne Press, and Extraordinary Editions. And no doubt there will be the odd First Folio Shakespeare for sale in the main exhibition if these presses have nothing to please you!

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Copyright Martyn Ould 2014