A title from The Old School Press 

Venice Approached

A second edition of the text of our first publication 

go to our homepage  follow the story of the making of this book 


About the book

Out of print

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.

You can find details of all our plans and books in print
via the homepage of our catalogue website
and you can buy online at our shop.


Copyright Martyn Ould 2023