An occasional newsletter about forthcoming books and events

May 2021

In this newsletter . . .

progress on: Into the lagoon

a note on: Making paper at Abbey Mills

our new Instagram presence

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progress on
Into the lagoon

A collection of images by Leslie Gerry with an early twentieth-century text about the Venetian Lagoon

planned for late summer 2021

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Work is now really under way on this title. Leslie has completed the eight images that will go into the book and a set of proofs landed at our front door recently. They are delicious.

As I write, Leslie is finishing the printing of 700 sheets of 190gsm A3+ Bockingford on his 12-colour Surecolor P7500 - I love this bringing together of fifteenth- and twenty-first-century technologies - and we meet next week in a car park near Weston-super-Mare for the handover. While Leslie has been finishing the images I've been hand-setting the text.

The text is extracted from Edward Verrall Lucas's A wanderer in Venice, written just before the outbreak of World War I, and it has the flavour of the period, that of the English traveller abroad. The islands in and towns fringing the lagoon are featured: tourist-trap Murano, 'dirty' Burano, and 'nobly dead' Torcello of course; San Lazarro with its Armenian print-shop; 'amphibious' Chioggia, Porto Secco, and Malamocco; San Michele, San Francesco in Deserto, Poveglia, San Spirito, and San Clemente in passing. Little has changed and yet so much has changed in nine decades.

Although we have a large quantity of the 14pt Hunt Roman, it proves to be enough for just six of the large pages so we shall be printing those and then distributing the type ready for the next six pages. The Hunt Roman is a big type - you could mistake the 14pt for 18pt of any other typeface. This is largely down to the short ascenders and descenders which mean that it fills the type body. One implication of this large 'x-height' is that it needs to be well leaded and after proofing it with 3pt, 4pt, and even 5pt of leading we've fixed on 5pt to allow the long lines to breathe. We're pairing it with the elegant Castellar, using both of our 24pt and 60pt titling founts. I've leaded this page with just 3pt while setting. 

We think this is going to make an excellent, if more modest, companion piece to Leslie's grand Venice Reflections - for a nice review of which do watch this video by John Buchtel, curator at the Boston Athenaeum. And if you'd like to know more about Leslie's way of working he reveals all in this video. Into the lagoon will be co-published with Leslie Gerry Editions.

If Venice is your thing, we do still have some copies left of An Italian Dream, Dickens's trance-like visit to La Serenissima, printed in Poliphilus on a dampened hand-made paper from Cartiera Amatruda in Amalfi. A bargain at just 36 from our online shop.

And why not visit the surrounding Veneto and thirteen of Andrea Palladio's villas in our Palladio's Homes? - also printed on a paper from Cartiera Amatruda, this time set in Dante. You can watch a short video about the book here.


(An aside for type junkies. I kept setting text from the six cases of 14pt Hunt Roman until I ran out of a sort - the first time I have done this. Which letter would run out first? It was t. And I still had a lot of type left. The fount seemed to be seriously unbalanced. If you know Sebastian Carter's bibliography of the Rampant Lions Press (whence the fount came) you might remember that he and his father ordered the type from the Stempel typefoundry, forgetting that the proportions of the letters would be appropriate to German rather than English. One result of this is that I have a surfeit of upper case! After some counting I decided I was also short of a and comma, so have placed an order with Rainer Gerstenberg in Germany for more t, a, and comma, hoping this will extend the fount's capacity.)


a note on
Making paper at Abbey Mills

One 'sophisticated' copy remaining

read the previous news item on this title

Following responses to our earlier offer, I had a number of copies of this recent title 'upgraded' with sample sheets of all the Abbey Mills papers used, in a simple box. I have one copy left over, available for 120 plus shipping.


a note on
Our new Instagram presence

Another leap into the twenty-first century for The Old School Press


I think we were the first press in the UK to have a website - if my memory serves me well it was 1995 that we set it up - a very modest listing of available titles. We've not been so quick with social media, definitely late adopters. But Instagram feels like the right place to be.

We will of course be keeping this newsletter going, as we can be as expansive as we like in an email. But I'm expecting to post snappier pieces more frequently on Instagram. So if that's a medium you subscribe to be sure to follow @theoldschoolpress.

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Copyright Martyn Ould 2021