A title from The Old School Press 

Three Pieces

Three hitherto unpublished essays by type historian Harry Carter

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About the book

Out of print

During their researches on Harry Carter's life and work, the authors of Harry Carter, Typographer came across about 150pp of typescript material that he had drafted towards a second volume of his history of Oxford University Press. Unfortunately, that volume was never to see the light of day, but we have taken the opportunity to publish two of the essays in that typescript. The first, Bradley’s Observations, describes what was (in Carter’s words) ‘the worst dereliction of duty in the history of the Press’ and is fascinatingly tied up with the £20,000 prize offered under the Longitude Act of 1714 for an accurate way of determining longitude. The second, Thomas Bensley as a Partner, is a tale of fraud and deception at the Press.

In August 1932, Carter sent an essay on the influence of John Baskerville on type design to Jan van Krimpen for inclusion in the first issue of a proposed successor to The Fleuron, but that also never came to fruition. Carter's essay on this most influential of English type designers - whose tercentenary is in 2006 - makes the third item in this volume of his work.

We originally published these three essays as an extra volume in the de luxe copies of Harry Carter, Typographer, but it was evident from the speed with which those sold out that there would be a demand for the essays on their own so we ran on a small edition.

About the edition

The text is printed in 12D/15 Romulus on a hand-made Van Gelder paper. (I rescued this paper from the defunct print-shop of the Carthusian monastery at Parkminster in Sussex. The ream had a single worm-hole running through it and some copies have this hole as a feature on one or more pages, though mostly in the margin or gutter. I think it adds a touch of romance to the book.) Case-bound in green cloth with Fabriano end-papers and a label on the front-board. The title page carries a photograph of Carter. 28pp. There were eighty copies of which about fifty were for sale at £35.

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