An occasional newsletter about forthcoming books and events

September 2017


progress on
Paper making by hand in 1953

Paper-making at Barcham Green mill in the 1950s

now in print

read the previous news item on this title

Copies of this title are now available. If you have previously reserved a copy it will be on its way to you soon; if you expressed interest we will have been in touch hoping you would like to buy a copy. The price has now been fixed at £105 (€125, US$140) each and there are just 100 copies for sale. You will find a series of photographs of the book at our website: there is a link to the entry for the book on the home page.

Although a thousand copies of the original booklet were printed and there were two smaller reprints in later years, it is surprisingly rare, perhaps  - in the case of the 1953 edition at least - because of its ephemeral nature. The author John Barcham Green's description of the process is authoritatively detailed. If you are familiar with Joseph Moxon's descriptions of the processes of printing in his Mechanick Exercises you will have an idea of the flavour. Some examples :

When new moulds have been worked for a few days, a slip should be put on the underside of the deckle with brass pins. It should fit tight against the side of the mould to prevent the stuff getting under the deckle when the mould is dipped. The slip will want adjusting from time to time.

The other mould is now on the bridge to the right of the vatman and he places the deckle on it (the nearest left-hand corner goes on first) and at the same time draws the mould towards him. The deckle finally goes down with a smack and the mould is ready for the next dip.

The paper is then parted for the second time and pressed for the third and last time. Care must be taken with each pressing because the paper can be made to flaw each time it is pressed. During the months of July, August and September, it is not wise to leave the packs too long between the partings nor to make the stacks of packs more than about 2 ft. 6 ins. high. If you do, mildew may form, especially before the first parting as the packs are hot when they leave the vat house.

The ream labels must be stuck on the wrapper before the wrapper is used, otherwise the slight moisture from the paste would mark the surface of the hand made paper. If tape is used the knots must be at the sides and ends of the reams.

Well, having completed the printing of the booklet, our final task was getting the sixteen photographs into shape. As I mentioned in a previous newsletter, the images in the original booklet were small and not well printed as half-tones. Thanks to the generosity of Simon Barcham Green we have been able to get original prints from his archive professionally scanned, which has meant that we are able to use the entire image - some were unkindly cropped - for digital printing.

Each of the images is printed on an A5 (210 x 148mm) sheet of Hahnemühle Photo Rag Baryta which has then been sealed with a protective spray. The results are a huge improvement on the original and all sorts of detail has now come alive. We have been printing the images on our eight-colour Epson 3800 printer here at The Old School Press, adding the figure number and copyright notice on the verso on an Epson 2100 - both going flat out for days.

Here is an example of one of the images. (NB it is a low-resolution version for newsletter purposes.)

I love that 1950s print on her dress. So retro.


Our holiday

Well, a bit of it

We are just back from a visit to Italy - Bologna and the surroundings towns of Ferrara, Modena, and Parma. I had hoped to visit the Bodoni Museum but it was - of course - closed temporarily, and nothing to say so on the website. The closest we got to bookish things was this type rack from the Nebiolo type foundry, enjoying a second life as a desk outside a restaurant. The types that once inhabited it seem to have included various sizes of Donatello, a gotico, and a meroviglia scura (?). I didn't check the cases themselves. 

We also enjoyed a fine view down the Biblioteca dell'Archiginnasio in Bologna, but no more than a view, though there was an exhibition of early 20C ornamental bindings:

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Copyright © Martyn Ould 2017