Many readers of this blog will be familiar with the Curwen Press, the most important letterpress trade printer in England throughout much of the 20th century. In 1984 the Curwen Press closed and sold its entire composing room to Ian Mortimer, proprietor of I.M. Imprimit in London. The Curwen archive is still intact and was recently sold to the Barabrian Press of Mission, British Columbia, who have announced a forthcoming book, The Curwen Project, scheduled for publication in 2010.
The archive consists of three parts:
‘The first comprises about two hundred packets of set ornamental borders in pages, composed for specific jobs and then tied up and stored for future use.
The second part is made up of the Curwen Press composing room stock of ornaments, comprising fifty-eight half cases densely packed with unused ornaments from 6 to 36 point, and nearly one hundred packets of ornaments from the foundry, never opened.
Last, there is a large carton of printed proofs of all the borders and other jobbing work: the composing room records of printed jobs, marked up with compositor’s details of dates of printings, number of copies printed, and so forth.’
According to the Barbarian Press website, ‘The book will reprint the complete range of hand-set borders still standing from the time the Curwen Press closed in the 1980s, printed in similar colour ranges to the originals. A possible deluxe state will also show some borders no longer standing newly set from the Curwen Press ornament collection after proofs in the archive.’
Read the full story here (half-way down the page).