Small Printing 2012 - History
A review of Small Printing 2012 by Fred Eagles
The forty-fifth edition of Small Printing on the subject History appeared in December 2012 with contributions from ten members of the BPS Publishing Group. Covers and title page are by Bob Richardson with the volume WireO bound by Ron Rookes who also provides the list of Contributors page.
Alan Brignull leads the field with a beautifully set page illustrated with blocks from the Magpie Press of late member Derek Maggs. Peter Criddle recalls an episode in British history with blocks showing Admiral Nelson’s signature before and after he lost his right arm in the battle of Santa Cruz. In his second page Peter sets in Caslon Italic the epithet recorded on a gravestone in the churchyard at Wentnor in Shropshire of the events of a great storm that killed the family of Samuel Pirkins on the night of the second of February 1772.
John Easson sets his page on the advantages of understanding the history of printing in the rarely seen but still attractive Horley, an early face from Monotype in the style of Stephenson Blake’s Verona, from an era when Monotype was still producing faces then in vogue rather than creating its own designs. Both John’s pages are delightfully surrounded by two-colour borders from his collection.
Several pages follow from John Holmes in New Zealand. His first presents the “twenty six soldiers of lead” quotation in SB’s Caslon; his second sheet has an anonymous poem The Typographical Error from a 1940 volume The History of Printing in New Zealand. Typos will only appear after you have finished the print run!
Owen Legg at his Woodcraft Press presents a ‘work in progress’ example of his setting of a page from a proposed miniature book about Tomb Thumb, neatly set in Perpetua. John Miller obviously has both a scanner and the CD edition of Michael Jackson’s History album for he prints the cover as his contribution to the History theme.
Ron Prosser reproduces in full, over six pages, chapter nine of Typographica or the Printers’ Instructor, published by Longmans in 1824. This chapter is on the Department of the Reader or the skills of successfully proof-reading copy before it goes to press. A little dated by today’s standards but nevertheless worthwhile reading for the beginner.
History is not limited to printing and Ron Rookes recalls the story of the “Chain Home” Radar system, a legacy of the Marconi Company set up in Essex in 1954 as part of a Cold War exercise to protect Britain against possible attack by Russia. He also illustrates in full colour a following page of his childhood memories of a Summer day out on the village green and the powered roundabout.
Peter White’s page illustrates the press used by William Caxton and his biographical quotation of being born, and being taught English, in the Weald in Kent. John Holmes prints a Roll of Honour for Small Printing 1967-2011, plagiarising the Honor Roll in Bill Haywood’s It’s a Small World, now co-ordinated by Alan Brignull from Wivenhoe in Essex.