The Reading Room Press

Past Books

Wood Engravings by Thijs Mauve

Out of Print

Thijs Mauve [1915–1996] was a Dutch artist whose skills included wood engraving. Amongst the surviving blocks (some of which his widow has left to the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford) are a suite of ten images that he engraved for use in a book , published in 1949, commemorating the completion of the reconstruction of Rotterdam Harbour after its destruction during World War II. These are striking images and seem to me worth reproducing. Set in Lutetia and printed on Zerkall Ingres, the sheets French-folded, there were 100 copies.

Night Club Girl by A.S.J.Tessimond

Out of Print

Being six previously unpublished poems together with a letter to Beatrice Warde.

Illustrated with two wood engravings by Simon Brett.

Set in Melior, Palatino and Typewriter with Festival for display and printed on Magnani paper and case bound by Chris Hicks.

104 copies.

Night club cover image

Cricket on the Beach

Out of Print

A six-page booklet printed on Zerkall and set in Palatino with Prisma for display; sewn into Bugra Butten covers with a wood engraving by David Dobson tipped in. 60 copies. “Conceived with affection in anticipation of the celebrations for” an 80th birthday, it is a printer’s (and cricketer’s) conceit. A customer has already presented a copy to the M.C.C. Library at Lord’s Cricket Ground.

A Letter to Edmund Gosse

A Letter to Edmund Gosse, Forrest Reid. 2004, the letter in question being inside a presentation copy of Following Darkness which Reid had sent to Gosse asking for his opinion on the book.


Horoscope for Diane

Out of Print

Horoscope for Diane, A. S. J. Tessimond. 2005. This was prompted by the discovery of a fulsome inscription to Diane from Tessimond in the front of a copy of Walls of Glass. In a commentary I muse on the possibility that this woman was perhaps more important to Tessimond than many of his other fleeting affairs.

Wood engraved illustration by Paul Kershaw.


Playground Football

Out of Print

This reprint of a schoolboy essay almost certainly by T. E. Lawrence was inspired not only by Lawrence the writer himself but by becoming infected with Paul Nash’s enthusiasm for the Corvinus Press. Thus it is a small homage to both Lawrence and Viscount Carlow, the press’s founder. John Randle, the proprietor of the Whittington Press commented: “Only you would mix Caslon and Corvinus, Miles”.

There is a wood engraving by Ian Stephens. Paul Kershaw designed and hand printed the patterned paper, which is based on the pawl & ratchet of a canal lock paddle.


T. E. Lawrence and Siegfried Sassoon - A Friendship

Out of Print

This was the text of the talk that Dennis Silk gave at the Imperial War Museum in 2007. The chance to put the names of two of my literary heroes together with his name on a title page was an opportunity that no self-respecting private press printer could allow to pass. The portrait illustration, engraved on boxwood by Jim Westergard, I suggested, might be the first published image of Sassoon and Lawrence together for even though Lawrence attended Sassoon‘s wedding no photograph of them both appears to exist. Bound by Chris Hicks, there were 120 copies.

in the chase
The first side of the second signature locked up.
ready to print
The type from Stan Lane at Gloucester Typesetting Services arrives.

out of context

Out of Print

A T.E.Lawrence conceit being the reprinting of a discarded wood engraved portrait from the block, of Lawrence by George Buday, together with an intriguing quotation from one of his letters and brief commentaries by Simon Brett and the Printer.

6pp set in Bembo, printed on Magnani paper and sewn into Bugra Butten printed wrappers. About 120 copies.

out of context

The Bellman’s Return

Out of Print

A ‘Snarklet’ being six stanzas penned by the printer as a light-hearted conclusion to Lewis Carroll‘s ‘The Hunting of the Snark’ printed in Lutetia & Ornata on Zerkall and decorated with commercial wood engravings of nautical lamps. One hundred twenty copies available for £12 including postage. 8pp. 157 by 124 mm.

The Bellman’s Return

The Historiated Initials from ‘The Farmers Year’ by Clare Leighton with an introduction by Simon Brett.

Out of Print

These twelve wood-engraved blocks (1 3/8" square) escaped the drill of Leighton‘s executors (she had stipulated that all her blocks were to be preserved but have holes drilled in them) and are now presented, one per recto page, printed from the wood. The book is introduced in typically erudite manner by Simon Brett. Set in Walbaum and printed on Zerkall paper. 5" x 7". 20pp. Bound by Chris Hicks with printed patterned papers designed by the printer. 75 copies.

110 copies. Magnani Vergata Avorio paper. Centaur set and cast by Stan Lane of Gloucester Typesetting Services. Frontispiece portrait of Viscount Carlow by Eric Kennington. Casebound by Chris Hicks with patterned paper boards by Paul Kershaw. Printed on an Albion press.

The Historiated Initials from ‘The Farmers Year’

An Advertiser’s Alphabet by A.S.J.Tessimond and Ceri Richards

Out of Print

Lying in Tessimond’s archive, not much more than a cardboard-box, has been a stapled booklet signed by both Tessimond and Richards on the first page and dated 1930. Tessimond appears to have entered alphabetically, words relating to his trade as an advertising copywriter such as ‘Brand Name’, ‘Habit’, and ‘Psychology’. Richards has painted 25 (there is no ‘A’) delightful gouache vignettes while Tessimond has added his own interpretaion of the art and guile of the advertising business.

The images have been scanned and printed digitally by the Senecio Press, one per recto page, onto BFK Rives 180gsm paper. The text is printed letterpress in Lutetia with Romulus Open for display. The format is larger than the original. The introduction is by Mel Gooding, the artist’s son-in-law and acknowledged expert on Richards. The black and white design painted on the cover of the booklet is reproduced in reduced form on the Buggra Butten paper covers. Casebound by Chris Hicks. 150 copies.

On Collecting Books and Printing them too
On Collecting Books and Printing them too
An Advertiser’s Alphabet
Pages from the original booklet.