Publishing Group Annual 2015 - Printing for Pleasure
A review of the Publishing Group Annual 2015 by Fred Eagles
(formerly Small Printing)
Printing for Pleasure came out in 1955, written by John Ryder who was a self-taught amateur printer and a professional book designer. It came out in the post-war years when paper and printing ink was becoming more available to the man in the street. It enthusiastically revived an interest in private press printing and this book set many of the Society’s early members on the path to self publishing, and a number on to a productive career.
The Publishing Group celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of its first appearance by choosing Printing for Pleasure as the theme for this year’s cooperative publication. Fifteen PG printers contributed two dozen pages Wire-o bound into an A5 landscape format.
George Webb sets the pace with a title page on a cream Glastonbury Wove paper with the title in 24 point Thorne Shaded and an ancient cut of a compositor at the case rack.
The List of Contributors and the binding is by Ron Rookes in a quite attractive digital face I do not recognise. Alan Brignull’s leaf is neatly hand-set in Plantin with another old cut of a galloping horseman complete with post horn. He reflects on how the second edition of John Ryder’s book from 1976 set him on the path to messing about with an Adana. Chris Brinson obviously enjoys printing for pleasure by hand setting and presenting some of his collection of Victorian and Edwardian types.
Peter Criddle reproduces a facsimile of a small booklet first printed in Switzerland in the late nineteenth century by the stepson of Robert Louis Stevenson with verses by his stepfather. Young Lloyd enjoyed printing small commercial items for local businesses in and near Davos; this booklet is cleverly secured within the confines of Peter’s page so as not to be lost in transit.
John Easson is another member who admits that Printing for Pleasure set him on the path to buying the Adana Quarto press which established his press name. His page is set in Bell and decorated with an ATF Troyer ornament of an open book which was withdrawn before I could add it to my collection.
Mike Elliston chooses another well known book from the pen of John Ryder, A Suite of Fleurons, which introduced the novice to the excellent selection of fleurons becoming available from Monotype under the guidance of Stanley Morison and Beatrice Warde. His initial letter O is formed from a group of such fleurons in keeping with the text.
A quotation from Printing for Pleasure is the well hidden highlight of Paul Hatcher’s page: “I think you should dispense with any idea of running a small press as a money-making venture”. This is so true if you do just want to print for pleasure. Paul’s page is set newspaper style in lots of 7 point (!) Ionic with sub-headings in an elderly condensed face reminiscent of the early days of the multiple column news-sheets.
John Holmes from New Zealand set his page so simply and effectively in Monotype Garamond complete with the rarely seen ct ligatures which enhance this face. Printed in black and soft brown on a cream paper it is a delight to behold. Keep it simple is the motto for such good design.
Owen Legg finds the chore of proof-reading and error checking (frequently undertaken by his wife) makes him wonder if printing is so much a pleasure after all. He revives a typeface from the early 1920s, Burlington from a German founder, I think, which was much copied in the inter-war years.
Rachel Marsh reminds us that one of John Ryder’s messages was that the amateur printer could and should experiment “without fear of bankruptcy”. So true, and so effectively presented here by Rachel; an excellent use of Albertus too, nicely set.
I have come across a number of pages from various private press printers on their experiments with using 3D printers to turn a handful of undamaged letters from a rare face into a full font of a much desired typeface. John Miller explains how the same technology can be used to print a much coveted weapon to be used in playing a popular video game.
I lusted after ATF’s Souvenir when it first became available in the Sixties but it never was high enough on my wish-list to justify the cost. Like many such faces it is now available as a digital recreation but I see from Ron Prosser’s page it is now known as Soutane. The name is similar enough to be the same place in an alphabetical listing without breaching copyright.
Ron’s beautifully presented eight pages include mention of an Intertype book, Some Type Personalities, he was presented with when an apprentice and the wisdom covered within its pages. He also acquired What a Compositor Should Know - The Art and Practice of Display which he has found to be invaluable reading over the years. He illustrates some of the examples on Style with copy extracts from the book, still good advice to this day.
Bob Richardson gives us an insight into his introduction to printing and shows three cover illustrations of Printing for Pleasure and it’s rival publication Printing as a Hobby. This followed by a colourful item from Ron Rookes, printed for pleasure, using Arabesque Ornaments, a digital print with a letterpress feel. The next two pages return to letterpress from George Webb, the first is an apt quotation printed in red on pink parchment type paper, given added interest by being printed on the angle. His final page is a thesaurus of printing for pleasure printed black and orange.
Peter White repeats a quotation for Harry Carter’s book about Fournier which was presented by John Ryder in the postscript to his Printing for Pleasure with a colourful engraving of a heralding angel. The volume is rounded off with John Holmes’ Roll of Honour listing the contributors to Publishing Group Annual and its predecessor Small Printing.
The Publishing Group Annual is the revised name for the earlier annual cooperative formerly known as Small Printing.