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Gwendolin : Seventy-Five Years On

A Critique


Edited by DAVID G. LEWIS

Contributors: ROBIN NICHOLAS, ERIC SWEET

Illustrated with wood engravings by HILARY PAYNTER


Just before he died in 1930, Robert Bridges told his friend, Loyd Haberly, that he would like to see his poem Eros & Psyche published and that it should be illustrated with a selection of the pencil designs that Sir Edward Burne-Jones had drawn for William Morris's The Earthly Paradise, but which were never issued. In 1934 Haberly, an American, was appointed Controller of the Gregynog Press, and he decided to print the poem using a new typeface to harmonise with the Burne-Jones drawings. The design was based on that used by Johann Neumeister to print Dante's La Divina Commedia at Foligno in Italy in 1472. Haberly commissioned the calligrapher Graily Hewitt to draw the type under his guidance. Cut by the Monotype Corporation, its working title was Neumeister, it was frequently referred to as Gregynog or Paradiso, but was subsequently re-named Gwendolin.

The Gregynog Press published Eros & Psyche, illustrated with wood engravings from the Burne-Jones drawings, in 1935. On publication, the new typeface met with universal disapproval from the experts of the day, chief amongst them being C. H. St John Hornby and Stanley Morison. It was never used in a Gregynog book again. For many years it was believed that the original matrices had been melted down in support of the Second World War effort, but they were recently discovered amongst matrices donated to Gwasg Gregynog. The present volume takes a fresh look at this, the only typeface ever designed for the Press, 75 years after its disastrous debut.

DAVID LEWIS is a Trustee of Gwasg Gregynog. He was born in South Wales and lives in London. He owns a complete collection of the books published by the Gregynog Press, in both special and case bindings, as well as those of Gwasg Gregynog. He is writing a book on the Special bindings of the Gregynog Press, which includes biographies of the original subscribers and where those books are to be found today. As part of his research he visited The Royal Library and discovered Loyd Haberly's letter to HM Queen Mary, which forms the centrepiece of this small volume.

ERIC SWEET has had a lifetime career concerned with lettering, calligraphy, typography and bookbinding. Studying at Brighton College of Art in the 1950s Graily Hewitt and Edward Johnston were emphasised as role models, as well as Eric Gill who had lived at nearby Ditchling. Eight years as a lettering artist and typographer in London advertising agencies and studios preceded a move to Birmingham where the last ten years before retirement were spent as head of the Birmingham School of Printing, a constituent department of Matthew Boulton College. He is now a collector of antiquarian books, specialising in fables, where the copy of the 1931 Gregynog Esope with Agnes Miller Parker's wood engravings (and her signature at the front) holds pride of place.

ROBIN NICHOLAS joined the Monotype Type Drawing Office in 1965, and worked at making type drawings for two years before training in punch-cutting, hand justifying and proving. He managed the Type Drawing Office for 10 years before taking up his current position as Head of Typography for Monotype Imaging. Among his best-known type designs are Nimrod, and the Arial typeface family - chosen by Microsoft as the core font for Windows - which he developed in 1982 with Patricia Saunders. He has supervised the digital revival of many of the classical Monotype faces, and his work on corporate images includes the sans serif typefaces for the new Barclaycard identity.

EDITION DETAILS

Designed by Eric Sweet, and printed letterpress on Monadnock and Mohawk American papers. The text is set in 8 and 12 point Monotype Bembo. The book includes pages from the original Eros & Psyche prospectus hand-set in type newly-cast from the Gwendolin matrices discovered at the Press, and illustrated with two of the
original woodblocks. Pages from the 1472 La Divina Commedia are also reproduced, and the critique is further illustrated with material from the archive of The Monotype Corporation.

THE BINDING150 numbered copies bound by Smith Settle in quarter red cloth with printed paper covered boards. 48 pp., 180x280 mm.

ISBN 978-1-907224-03-4

Prices include postage within the UK, and by Surface Mail overseas.


Price: £90 (Quarter Red Cloth)
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£75 (Unbound)
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