Printing at the University Press, Oxford, 1660-1780
Details of Volume I: 'Premises, people, paper'
This is the first of three volumes. It sets the scene by describing the first key resource of the University Press, namely the sequence of premises that it occupied over the period: its first home was the Sheldonian Theatre and by the end of the period it was settled in the Clarendon Building further along Broad Street, but between those two magnificent buildings, the Press had a third home in wooden premises that were initially built especially for it but that were subsequently pulled down to make way for the Clarendon Building. How did all these come about? Where did the presses go? Where was composition done? What was the flow of work around the building?
The second topic covered is the roles that made up the management of the Press: the Architypographus, the Warehouse-keeper, and the Printer. Whilst John Fell and his partners worked hard to get the Press off on a sound managerial footing in the early 1670s, over the decades mismanagement became the order of the day until William Blackstone took it by the scruff of the neck and restored order in the late 1750s.
Finally the book delves in detail into the history of the second key resource of the Press: the paper that it used, covering where it came from, how it was obtained, how much was paid for it, and how it was used and stored. At the outset good paper had to be imported from the Continent and supplies were disrupted by war. Later, monopolies and taxation aggravated matters. But as matters settled and English papermakers such as Whatman established themselves the situation was regularised.
To illustrate the narrative ten contemporary documents from the University Press and the Bodleian Library are newly reproduced as tipped-in photographs.
Copies of the de luxe edition come with an extra forty-page volume, Correspondence on Paper, that presents a collection of hitherto unpublished letters from London paper dealers to Thomas Yate from the 1670s. These documents, now in the Bodleian Library, are revealing for what they tell us of the difficulties that the early University Press had in obtaining supplies of paper from the Continent at a time of war. The letters have been carefully transcribed and edited with explanatory notes and a chronology.
The contents of volume I are as follows:
The book makes 168 pages and the page size is 276 mm by 216 mm, the same size as all our previous titles on Oxford University Press. The text has been set in 12pt Monotype Van Dijck and 250 copies have been printed on 148gsm Mohawk Superfine paper. The end-papers are also Mohawk Superfine.
BINDING A: Fifty de luxe copies are quarter-bound in dark brown leather with a paper specially marbled by Jemma Lewis on the boards. The additional volume is printed on an antique Rives BFK mould-made paper and case-bound in full brown cloth. The two volumes are presented in a cloth-covered slip-case also in brown cloth. £320.
BINDING B: 190 standard copies are case-bound in brown cloth, with a printed dust-jacket of gold Hahnemühle Bugra Bütten. £125.
Ten further copies are reserved in sheets for binders. £60.
A paper prospectus can be sent on request - it adds no further detail but is indicative of the type and paper used. You can order by email or by writing to The Old School Press, Cliff Edge, Beer Hill, Seaton EX12 2QD, UK. Trade discount is a quarter. Shipping is charged extra at cost.
Copyright © Martyn Ould 2016.