Page 7 - February 2015
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and Enamellers”. “Enamelling” referred to the   to Lord Spencer, an ancestor of Diana, the
hard, smooth finish given to the paper used     late Princess of Wales. De la Rue was left with
for the production of playing cards.            a large quantity of gold powder and tried
                                                unsuccessfully to revive interest in the project
As a diversion, in 1829 Thomas de la Rue, in    with an attempted second edition in 1834
partnership with a Mr Balne, produced a large   and a further abortive edition in 1836. As a
octavo edition of the New Testament in gold.    commercial product the book was a failure,
The original idea was to print 30,000 copies,   but it established the name of de la Rue as
but only 104 were eventually produced.          a producer of high quality ‘luxury’ printed
Twenty-five of these were advertised as being   items. Thomas’s next attempt at gold printing
printed with “pure gold powder”. Timperley’s

the lurid green disColourAtion of some 'gold' text indiCAtes the presenCe of Copper in the bronzing prepArAtion.
the body hAir of mAny of the printers involved in gilding turned A similAr Colour.

Dictionary of Printers & Printing described     would be a spectacular success, but the cost
the work as a “typographical wonder”, noting    to his employees would be high.
that the gold alone was worth five guineas.
The high production cost necessitated a         One of the most famous examples of gold
sale price of £15 (£750 at current values).     printing is the so-called golden Sun printed in
One copy was presented to William IV as an      June 1838 to mark the Coronation of Queen
accession gift and the parishioners of Windsor  Victoria. De la Rue did not have the large
raised the money to buy one for the Bishop      facilities necessary to produce the newspaper
of Colombo. Only one other copy was sold,       at his Bunhill Row works, and so the printing

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