A title from The Old School Press 

Printing at the Daniel Press

An analysis of some rare proof sheets from the Daniel Press 

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About the book

Out of print

Authors' drafts are prized for the insights they offer scholars into the workings of the writer: the development and refinement of a text, the way that corrections and changes were made, and the degree of change made before the final version was reached. But we rarely have a chance to see that process in operation in the work of printers of the past. So it was with some excitement that in 2008, during our researches for The Daniel Press in Frome, David Chambers and I were presented with a paper bag full of pieces of mostly aged newsprint that turned out to be fifty-two proofs and rejected sheets from the Daniel Press that had come down through the family.

On inspection they proved to date from between 1883 and 1897, complete with the Reverend Henry Daniel's pencil corrections. How this gathering of wastepaper-bin contents came to survive is a mystery, but I have not been able to resist examining them in detail and making some observations about the printing practices of that authentic and original amateur private press printer. Comparison of the proof sheets with the books as finally issued tells us quite a lot about what he spotted and what he did not! Through these items we see Henry Daniel, working at his Albion at Worcester House in Oxford, setting up perhaps four or eight pages in his forme, pulling a proof, and marking the necessary corrections; in some cases we have a sequence of proofs of the same page showing us the changes he made. In one instance we also have a sequence of proofs for a title page, revealing the changes he made to the design, wording, and typography. Daniel was not a great technical printer but his work is now much collected for its charm, and, in particular, for his use of the ĎFell typesí and early printing ornaments which he had acquired from Horace Hart at Oxford University Press.

One of the proof sheets from the Daniel Press

About the edition

As well as listing all the sheets, this monograph contains twelve pages of photographs of them, illustrating aspects of Danielís working practices. It also reprints a fine obituary of Daniel by the writer Edmund Gosse. The 32pp of text are set in 12pt Caslon Old Face, printed on a ream of antique Turkey Mill wove paper. It is case-bound to a size and style that matches Falconer Madan's bibliography of the Daniel Press and our title The Daniel Press in Frome (see above).

The edition is just 95 copies. The price is £84 per copy.

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What others have said about the book

'Absolutely fascinating!', 'An important catalog and analysis of this group of proof sheets, that has scholarly merit and is beautifully printed'

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