An occasional newsletter about forthcoming books and events

October 2022

In this newsletter . . .

our tribute to the late John Sutcliffe

news about The last papermakers of Fukushima

an event: Ludlow Fine Book Fair this month

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our tribute to the late
John Sutcliffe

. . . with whom we produced two books

'. . . an engaging character whose creative mind was never at rest'

(The Times obituary, 22 September 2022)

It was with sadness that last month we heard about the death of John Sutcliffe, the author of two of our books - The Colours of Rome and The Lost Colours of the Cyclades.

John's brother-in-law, Sebastian Carter, has written an obituary in the Life & Style section of the online Guardian.

John provided not only a text for each of the books but also many ideas for their design and contents. He and I first met to discuss his idea for The Colours of Rome in a cafe in Oxford. It wasn't long before both a standard and a de luxe edition had been decided on, with painted strips to be tipped into the book, linocuts, a portfolio of large 'paint-outs' of colours with additional text, a swatch card, bottles of pigment embedded in a foam container, . . . thereby setting some challenges for both printer and binder!

The Colours of Rome is out of print, but you can see more about it at our website. The following image shows the swatch card and the set of twenty large 'paint-outs' that accompany each copy.

For the de luxe copies John had the off-the-wall idea of including a collection of bottles of the pigments that were used to compose the twenty colours:

The second book on which we collaborated arose from John's professional work in the Cyclades as a craftsman-decorator. He had discovered that, whilst our image of the Greek islands today is of brilliant white buildings, it was not always so, and, as with his findings in Rome, there was a vibrant palette hidden beneath the ubiquitous white. Twenty more colours and another splendid text, this one including his recipes for Greek dishes, which John loved. (Copies of the standard edition are still available at our online shop - search for 'cyclades'.)

You can see more about the book at our website, but the following image shows the swatch card and one of the twenty large 'paint-outs' that accompany each copy.

Again, John had an imaginative idea for the de luxe copies: a colour-it-yourself building facade for which you could choose from the twenty colours for the two floors of a cafe (you have to see it to understand it!) - sheets of Perspex were now involved, fifty identical watercolours, much work with a scalpel and ruler, and painting about 4,000 sheets of paper with specially matched paints. And of course there were extras in the form of reproductions of two advertisements for a major local paint supplier who operated in the islands in the nineteenth-century - 'a creative mind never at rest'!

Gamely, John had painted up the many sheets necessary for The Colours of Rome, so it seemed fair that the task should fall to us for The Lost Colours of the Cyclades. Fortunately we have a store that provided the hanging space for those 4,000 painted sheets required for the edition, 100 at a time:


progress on
The last papermakers of Fukushima

by Ellie Burkett - images and text start to come together

early 2023

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As author Ellie Burkett works on the text for this forthcoming book, there has been much traffic between the UK and Japan, through interpreters and friends, to develop the story of the work of the families who were once involved in papermaking in the village of Kamikawasaki.

The thirty-one photographs from the 1950s have now been prepared for printing - a detail from one appears below - and some decisions have been made on the format and structure of the book itself; in particular, we plan to hand-set the texts in Fournier italic for the texts, and print the edition on Magnani Pescia. A Japanese calligrapher friend is preparing the headings in kanji so that we can have blocks made for printing. We hope to have a detailed list soon of the Kamikawasaki hand-made papers that will be included, many of which will date back several decades. We are planning an edition of 150 copies.


a quick reminder about
The Ludlow Fine Book Fair 2022

where we will have a stand

1030-1700 Saturday 29 October
1030-1600 Sunday 30 October

Venue: Clive Pavilion, Ludlow Racecourse, SY8 2BT. Plenty of free parking, refreshments. Stalls for presses, traditional crafts, and associated artisan supples.


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Copyright Martyn Ould 2022