An occasional newsletter about forthcoming books and events

August 2020

In this newsletter . . .

a new book: Making paper at Abbey Mills

a postponed event: The Oxford Fine Press Book Fair

a blog episode: about the Daniel Press

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a new title:
Making paper at Abbey Mills

How it was done with esparto grass, with sample papers from the mill

planned for late 2020

read the next news item on this title

This new title has been on the back burner for a while, but COVID-19 lock-down has been a good opportunity to get it under way.

We expect an edition of about 65 copies for sale later this year.

Abbey Mills was a paper mill in the Grosvenor Chater Group which closed in the 1990s. Situated in North Wales, it took advantage of good water and a port nearby that could bring in raw materials. In the last century it specialised in high-quality papers such as Basingwerk Parchment, Greenfield, and Royal Cornwall which it introduced in the 1920s. A speciality of the mill was making paper from esparto grass.

Amongst the archives of the mill we found a typescript, written in the 1920s by the then manager, describing in some detail the processing of the esparto grass, and this text is at the heart of our new book. It is of course being printed on a stock of Basingwerk, a fine and quite heavy, opaque paper with a creamy colour. We also acquired a collection of a dozen batches of coloured papers from the mill and so looked for a way to incorporate them. For some time I've had a copy of the Abbey Mills paper specimen book produced in 1958, with texts and illustrations designed to show off their range of papers. Whilst we don't have such a range, we've used the coloured papers now here at the press to make something along the same lines.

For the material printed on the coloured leaves we've taken our inspiration partly from samples in the original specimen book and partly from the 1950s period itself: the 1951 Festival of Britain, the 1953 Coronation, typefaces and texts from the period, various Curwen 'dashes', the two-element Glint ornament, and a personal favourite, the Festival display face; and it's been an opportunity to pull out many of our text founts - Dante, Perpetua, Octavian, Caslon Old Face, Fournier -  all hand-set of course. The main text is set in 12pt Romulus with Optima headings. The whole thing runs to 64 pages and will be case bound with a letterpress-printed pattern-paper on the boards - see below.

We will publish more details and pricing closer to publication.

The Oxford Fine Press Book Fair

I guess most will know that the 2020 Fair, originally planned for March this year, then postponed to this November, has had to be further postponed, most probably to November 2021.

The Daniel Press


I recently contributed a piece about the Daniel Press to the Bodleian Libraries Centre for the Study of the Book blog The Conveyor.

We have just two copies left of The Daniel Press in Frome and three of Printing at the Daniel Press.

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Copyright Martyn Ould 2020