A title from The Old School Press
A second edition of the text of our first publication
About the book
Our very first book, published in 1992 (though the title page says 1991!), was a text taken from John Ruskin's The Stones of Venice. Amongst about 120 cases of type that I bought early on from a letterpress shop that was closing down was a full case of 24pt Bembo italic - fresh, unused - and I used that for a large landscape book in a small edition. The sheets were folded on the fore-edge meaning that I had to print very long pieces of paper on a 10x15 platen press - a daft thing for a beginner to do. I've always wanted to reprint it, hoping to make a better job of it, and this is the reprint, slightly extended, this time printed on our Western proof press.
Ruskin had a wonderful Victorian style: long, complex sentences, weaving in and out of subordinate clauses. For the compositor the result has its upside and its downside. Unusually, the first thing I would run out of was commas! On the upside his enormously long paragraphs meant solid blocks of text on the page, something I find rather attractive: none of those irritating indentations at the start of new paragraphs (I find unindented paragraphs equally annoying as the last sentence of the preceding paragraph simply finishes in mid-air - an annoying feature of many Golden Cockerell books.) On the other hand, that meant even greater care when hand-setting as correcting an error early in such a paragraph could mean having to rejustify the entire paragraph.
An opening from the book
About the edition
I hand-set the text in 14pt Hunt Roman and printed it on a pale blue Hodgkinson hand-made paper, making a single section of 16 pages sewn into a simple case. To cover the boards I decided to use up a number of oddments from my plan chest: four patterned sheets hand-blocked by Alberto Valese in Venice cover eight cases (they were left over from the original 1992 edition), and twenty-five overs of marbled papers that Ann Muir made for me over the years for various projects make another fifty. So, just fifty-eight copies. The eight copies in Valese papers were not for sale, but the others were £60 each.