PRINTING CLOSE UP

Leaves from books - each screen has details of layout and typography that can be enlarged. The number in brackets indicates the details available from each page.

THE HOLY BIBLE, DAY AND SERRES, 1549 (5)

JOHN GAY, THE BEGGAR'S OPERA, 1751 text(2) and score (1)
T.HEYWOOD, THE HIERARCHY OF THE BLESSED ANGELS, 1635 (2)
DELLA PORTA, NATURAL MAGICK , 1648 (1)
ERASMUS, GLOSS ON THE NEW TESTAMENT, 1544 (2)
SIR WALTER RALEIGH, THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD, 1614 (3)

JOHN SELDON, ON THE OWNERSHIP OF THE SEA, 1652 (4)

HOLINSHED'S CHRONICLES, 1577 (4)
RATHBONE'S SURVEYOR, 1616 (6)
JOHN GERARD, HERBAL, 1547 (4)
HOLY BIBLE, C.BARKER 1599 (5)
HANS SLOANE, NATURAL HISTORY OF JAMAICA, 1707 1725 (3)

SAMUEL JOHNSON, DICTIONARY 1755 (2)

ALLIANUS, TACTIKS, 1616 (1)
WILLOUGHBY ORNITHOLOGY , ORNITHOLOGY, 1676 (2)
PONCY, ON THE GENERATION OF MAN 1634 (4)
MILTON,PARADISE LOST, 1669
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, SONNETS 1609
SIR THOMAS BROWNE, URNE BURIALL, QUINCUNX 1658
THOMAS WARTON, POEMS 1748
THOMAS DEKKER , THE SHOEMAKERS' HOLIDAY 1600
CHRISTOPHER SMART, A SONG TO DAVID 1763

 

TYPES

THE STEEL ENGRAVED GIFT BOOK (1931)

 

 

From time to time, Claude Cox of Ipswich, that marvellous shop specialising in the arts of printing, would offer for sale a collection of individual leaves from key books. I assumed this was an ingenious means of capitalising on damaged volumes. It certainly gave me access to some fine examples of printing. Using a decent scanner, much more of the fabric and design of printing after 1500 became available in ways that were satusfying for study, and also avoided the buttock clenching terror of copyright law.

Each leaf is a mute witness of what can happen to the printed page. In the details you will explore the finesse (and otherwise) of the way letterforms are inked into paper in the service of meaning; the ways that the letterfroms are deployed across the surface of the paper with decoration, rules, empty space and playing to the printed image. Here you will explore the limits of the page, the observance of the edge of the paper, and the damageaht can be doewn, from bruising to tears, splashes and abrasions.

Although I am urged to place a black sheet behind the printed page to avoid the unsightliness of the appearence of the reverse of the page, I enjoy the mute presence of the verso, a reversed echo, a ghostly presence under that which I am reading.

Here too the human hand has intervened, in marginalia, accidental marks, and in the leaf of the 1549 Bible, an elaborate calculation of a forgotten task in ink down the margin.

 

VTS