A title from The Old School Press 

Printing at the University Press, Oxford, 1660-1780

Volume I: Premises, people, paper

The first definitive narrative about work at one of the greatest of English presses, in three volumes

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About volume I

In print

This volume 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de luxe edition come with an extra forty-page volume, Correspondence on Paper, that presents a collection of hitherto unpublished letters from London paper dealers to Thomas Yate from the 1670s.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:

Works referenced
The Old Congregation House
The Sheldonian Theatre
The ‘Little Print-house’ & the ‘New Print-house’
The Clarendon Building
Lighting and heating
Cleaning and general maintenance
Premises timeline
The Architypographus
The Warehouse-keeper
Printers to the University
The long view
1669-1680: Sourcing from the Continent
1687-1695: Sourcing from the Company of White Paper Makers
1700-1780: War and the taxes on paper – an aside
1695-1738: Supplies from Wolvercote
1694-1725: Supplies from John Baskett and others
1726-1757: A little paper from several suppliers
1760-1780: Papers from Whatman and others
1699-1780: Where did the paper come from?
1690-1772: Paper stocks in the Warehouse
Transporting paper to the Press
Yate’s 1672 account for the Press

The de luxe binding of volume I

About the edition

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 as usual.

Find out more about volume I

View the de luxe edition of volume I:

read about 'The Daniel Press in Frome'

View the standard edition of volume I:

read about 'The Daniel Press in Frome'

What others have said about volume I

'a terrific achievement', 'lovely', 'beautiful typesetting, excellent printing', 'a considerable achievement of scholarship and production', 'wonderful binding and printing', 'an impressive work', 'a delight to both read and handle'

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