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Fine Press Alphabets

Fine Press Alphabets

Working with small editions and letterpress printing allows the fine press printer to choose all of the components of a book, including the paper, typeface, illustrations and bindings. Alphabet books additionally give the printer a format for highlighting the various components of a book.

Leonard Baskin, 1922-2000.

A Gehenna Alphabet. The drawings by Leonard Baskin; with aphorisms & poems by Sidney Kaplan. Lurley, Devon, England: Gehenna Press, 1982.

Leonard Baskin started The Gehenna Press in 1942 and continued producing fine press editions until his death. A Gehenna Alphabet uses images of animals and humans that reflect his interest in mythology, philosophy and natural history.

David Kindersley, 1915-1995.

Twelve Alphabetik Images in Colour. Linton, Cambridgeshire: Chilford Hall Press and David Kindersley's Workshop, 1983.

Self described as a "letter-cutter and alphabet designer," David Kindersley designed memorials, typefaces, tombstones, inscriptions and street signs as well as bookplates, book jackets, paper-weights and film titles. In his later life, he began designing experimental alphabets such as the one displayed here.

Barry Moser.

An Alphabet. Wood engravings by Barry Moser; calligraphy by Yvette Rutledge; printed by Harold McGrath. Easthampton, Mass.: Pennyroyal Press, 1986.

An Alphabet. Poster. West Hatfield Mass.: Pennyroyal Press, 1986.

Barry Moser is a celebrated illustrator, printer and teacher who has produced hundreds of books in a variety of media. The illustrations in An Alphabet first appeared in Moser's book Word Mysteries and Histories: From Quiche to Humble Pie in 1986.

Alan James Robinson.

A Fowl Alphabet. Twenty-six wood engravings by Alan James Robinson; lettering by Suzanne Moore. Easthampton, Mass.: Cheloniidae Press, 1986.

Print from A Fowl Alphabet.

The text for this alphabet is based on an 1885 volume on Birds from Our Living World by J.G. Wood. Images of birds, selected for their unusual beak formations, were produced by wood engraving.

Leo Wyatt, 1909-1981

A Suite of Little Alphabets: Engraved in Wood. Biddenden, Kent: Florin Press, 1988.

Leo Wyatt, an artist born in South Africa, began producing wood engraving after the age of fifty. Each alphabet is a different font.

Richard Wagener.

Zebra Noise: with Flatted 7th. Berkeley: Peter Koch, Printer, 1998.

This alphabet bestiary was commissioned by Peter Koch from the artist Richard Wagener. The text, twenty-six short fictions written by Wagener that evoke the American West is accompanied by twenty-six wood engravings in black that follow the artist's zoological alphabet, from the armadillo, Tolypeutes tricinctus, to the meadow jumping mouse, Zapus hudsonius.

Enid Marx, 1902-1998.

Marco's Animal Alphabet. Oldham: Incline Press, 2000.

Enid Marx was a successful textile designer who also worked as a painter, printmaker, children's book author and illustrator, designer of book jackets, trademarks and postage stamps and posters for the London Underground. These bold linocut designs were colored by hand.

Sarah Horowitz.

Alpha botanica. Portland, Oregon: Wiesedruck, 2007.

English and Hebrew alphabets begin at the front and the back of this modern herbal.

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