The Reading Room Press

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Typagriphy

The press aspires to typographic excellence and has taken some comfort at least from the animated tenor of discussion that has accompanied the publication of past books . It now ventures to claim that it leads the world in the art of that lesser known aspect of typography: typagriphy.

My neighbours’ daughter, Rebecca, married Ed in July 2017 and I helped prepare the field for the reception. Having cut the area of grass for the marquees, on the spur of the moment I cut the letters shown ‘freehand’ with no prior measurement. Whilst they are brutally sans serif they are, I feel, majestic.

The second picture below shows the wedding guests ‘filling in’. The leading proponent of this new typographic art-form can be seen at the apex of the bowl of the ‘R’, arms outstretched in a pose reminiscent of Robert Gibbings playing the part of God …

The Bodleian Library, to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, invited printers to select a single sonnet and submit a letterpress version. Delighted to be one of the 155 printers I commissioned the wood engraver Paul Kershaw to design and cut for me an initial letter L seen here:

A Private Press-sponsored Gate

It is almost sixty years since the pubic footpath that ran outside the window of Coneygar Lodge - the home of The Reading Room Press - was diverted 20 yards down the road into the adjoining meadow. Visitors for N.A.D.F.A.S., S.W.E. and O.G.P. picnics parking in the field, will have been familiar with the gate:

This picture was taken several years ago. The gate had deteriorated further; indeed it disintegrated when removed from its hinges:

There seemed to me to be such a warmth of vernacular craftsmanship about the gate I thought it worthwhile replacing it like-for like rather than with the ubiquitous tubular steel affair. With the farmer’s blessing I commissioned a local carpenter to build another one:

All the iron-work was preserved. The hinge post remained unmoved. The delightful latch was restored. The wooden knob atop the plunger was turned from a boxwood billet discarded and rescued many years ago from the fire from a man making pub-skittles.

This could well be the first time a private press has sponsored a gate. I am grateful to Tim Morris, the land-owner for supporting my endeavour; to Trevor Sallis for making the gate; to Andrew Ives for supplying the latch-post; to Nick Sandford (“gates float my boat”) for fettling all the iron-work and both expertise and enthusiam throughout; to Peter Dunn for help hanging and digging and to Ian Stephens for providing the boxwood.