RUN OF THE WOODCRAFT PRESS PUBLICATIONS
Twelve volumes printed by the Woodcraft Press.
"Born in a suburb of London which had provided David Jones and Jack London, I grew up amongst the ruins of a bombed city. We played on bombed sites and watched birds among the semi derelict sports fields of South London. Our training was with the Boy Scouts who sent us everywhere camping and hiking, thus my love of the countryside and nature. My father was a great gardener and that stimulated my interest in gardens and growing vegetables. In fact my garden here is practically self supporting and is decorated with topiary. The best example is of an enormous peacock in the front garden which is a topic for the local agricultural college.
From school I went to British Columbia for six weeks on the British Schools Exploring Society's expedition. Straight after that It was Hospital Medical School and eyes down to qualify. As thought, to go onto surgery. National Service came along and as I was a conscientious objector, I went to Congo as a voluntary missionary. My son was born on the Equator. Back In England, I tried for my Surgical exams and failed seven times. Obviously, that wasn't for me so 1 switched to General Practice in 1966 and moved to Tonbridge.
All this time I had been sketching and .oil painting, but not really developing artistically. Not until started printmaking at the college of further education in nearby Tunbridge Wells did my Ideas start to solidify. not ossify, but develop. Linocuts for me limit the possibilities, but generate the ideas. Moving from prints I wanted text to accompany the image so used hand written poetry or cut lettering. This lead onto my first book in 1973 (the Armourer's Play) where Images of Knights and nudes, are combined with the text of a mystery play. This was exhibited during the .1973 York Festival. As time progressed, so my books have changed. Each as a result of my interests and preoccupations of the time. Many after long years of thought, others pretty instantaneous. The William Morris was finished on the morning when I set out as a medical Officer with the BSES expedition to Iceland. Thoughts of a Young Explorer was written and printed as a fund-raiser for my stint on the expedition to Alaska in .1999. Soon after that I retired from medicine, but my speed of book-making does not seem to have increased. produce sculpture from time to time and recently had an exhibition of these at Chatham. Now I am working full time on my current project Danse Macabre, a fifteenth century French poem with modern translation, illustrated by murals from a French church and footballers dancing with skeletons. My prints and books are scattered round the world Including the British library, Greenwich print Collection, Graphotek Berlin, Manchester University and Columbia university. I have exhibited widely In England, but also one man shows in Wales and France. I have belonged to the Free Painters & Sculptors for 4.1 years, exhibit regularly with them and have been their Hon Sec for 10 years."
The twelve titles are below:
(Woodcraft Press) Butterfield, Frederick William Lois and Bill Griffiths. BATTLE OF MALDON.|THE. N.P. (but Tonbridge): Woodcraft Press, 2003, square 8vo., cloth, glassine dust jacket. not paginated.
Limited to 100 copies numbered and signed by Owen Legg, printer/proprietor of the press. This is the sixth book in the 30 years of the Woodcraft Press. The text is two translations of an Anglo-Saxon lament: the first, by Butterfields, was originally privately printed in 1903 and the second, by Griffiths, is a modern literal translation. There are linocut prints and borders in several colors - different on each page. The paper is white laid 100 gsm , recycled 12pt Gill hand set with a 4pt leading and wood type for the titling. Per the colophon " as each sheet has been though the press at least a dozen times there are thumb prints and off-set marks on some sheets in most copies." Glassine has a few tiny tears and chips.
(Woodcraft Press) West, Gilbert. GARDENS OF STOWE.|THE. N.P. ( but Tonbridge): Woodcraft Press, 2006, 8vo., silk cloth, matching slipcase. not paginated.
Limited to 100 copies numbered and signed by Owen Legg, printer/proprietor of the press. The text is taken from Descriptions of Lord Cobhan's Garden at Stowe 1700-1750 edited by G. B. Clarke. Legg says that on his first visit to the gardens he imagined them peopled by nymphs and satyrs with perhaps nudes in the foreground. "Over the years this memory remained and has led me to produce a series of prints combining Stowe's follies with famous paintings." There are twelve full-page prints plus a print of Gilbert West from an engraving in the National Portrait Gallery. Printed in handset Burlington, 18pt, 2pt leaded on Fabriano No.5 . Spine of slipcase a little faded.
(Woodcraft Press) Jones, Ken. CHRISTMAS LETTERS FROM A FRIEND. Letters written by Ken Jones to Owen Legg 1985-1996. N.P. ( but Tonbridge): Woodcraft Press, 1997, oblong 4to., cloth, dust jacket. not paginated.
Limited to 175 copies numbered and signed by Owen Legg, printer/proprietor of the press. Ten years of seasonal letters. Jones and Legg have been friends for over 60 years. Illustrated primarily with photographs. Each letter has at least one illustration and/or photograph and most have a story to go with it. Introduction by Helen Legg. A charming book. Dust jacket is all stars and looks a bit like gift wrap.
(Woodcraft Press) Sackville-West, Vita. GARDEN.|THE. Illustrated by Owen Legg. N.P. (but Tonbridge): Woodcraft Press, 1989, large 4to., cloth, slipcase. 136, (4) pages.
Limited to 200 copies numbered and signed by Owen Legg, this being one of 180 on Fabriano 5 paper.. A very nice setting of Sackville-West's poem with five full-page, full-color linocuts of Sissinghurst plus additional ornaments in the text. The type is 18pt Perpetua, roman and italic. Woodblock letters for the titling and initial capitals. Prospectus laid-in.
(Woodcraft Press) Graves, Robert and Omar Ali-Shah (translation). RUBAIYYAT OF OMAR KHAYAAM.|THE. Illustrated by Owen Legg. Tonbridge: Woodcraft Press, 1980, 4to., full goatskin, Mylar jacket, cloth slipcase. not paginated.
Limited to 40 copies numbered and signed by Owen Legg and the bookbinder (signature illegible). The colophon as printed states 45 copies, but the limitation that is handwritten is 40 and that number has been verified by Mr. Legg. There are 30 linocut illustrations. The paper is handmade from rag pulp, colored with wool fleck. Handset in 18pt Dante italic. The binding is quite striking - the dark top board has a large rectangle cut-out with a smaller rectangle in-set which in turn as a circle cut-out with a silver quarter moon in-set. The spine repeats the quarter moon motif. Lovely production.
(Woodcraft Press) Legg, Owen. ADVICE TO A YOUNG EXPLORER. (Tonbridge): Woodcraft Press, 1999, square 8vo., stiff paper wrappers, cord tied. not paginated (8 pages).
Limited to 100 copies numbered and signed by Owen Legg. Illustrated with one linocut of a grizzly bear printed in three colors. " The poem is an attempt to bring the friendly childhood bear into the real wild world of ecology and conservation." Legg was a medical officer to the 1999 British Schools Exploring Society's expedition to the Talkeetna and Cugach National Parks. A couple of tiny creases at the corners.
(Woodcraft Press) Palsson, Hermann and Paul Edwards. EGIL'S HEAD RANSOM. (Tonbridge): Woodcraft Press, 2001, square 8vo., stiff paper wrappers, cord-tied. not paginated (8 pages).
Limited to 100 copies numbered and signed by Owen Legg. Illustrated with two full page linocuts. An excerpt from a translation of Egil's Saga which saved his life when Egil recited it before the court of King Eric Bloodaxe in 948. The frontispiece is based on a helmet in the York Jorvik Viking Centre, which dates from the period of this poem. A couple of tiny creases at the corners.
(Woodcraft Press) Morris, William. ON FIRST SEEING ICELAND. (Tonbridge): Woodcraft Press, 1992, 8vo., blue stiff paper wrappers. not paginated (8 pages).
Limited to 100 copies numbered and signed by Owen Legg, but this one has the number (92/100) crossed-out and Artist's Copy written in. William Morris first published this poem in a collection called "Poems by the Way" in 1892 having written in after visits to Iceland in 1871 and 1873. The Woodcraft edition was printed to mark Legg's departure for Iceland with the British Schools Exploring Society. Printed on handmade white Wilcox 100 cotton, made at Wookey Hole Mill. The type is Dante 16pt. The illustration is printed on Japanese mulberry paper.
(Woodcraft Press) PRAYER FOR TODAY.|A. (Tonbridge): Woodcraft Press, 1994, narrow 4to., single sheet held in printed folder.
Limited to 100, numbered and signed by Owen Legg at the end of the poem. A satirical look at modern life. The poem began as a joke over lunch by a group of friends, one of whom completed it and passed it on to her doctor [presumably Mr. Legg, who is a doctor as well as a fine press printer/artist]. The full page linocut is based on a cheese display at a local delicatessen. Printed on handmade cotton rag Wookey hole Mill paper using Dante 16pt. type. Quite attractive and fun!
(Woodcraft Press) Legg, Owen and Leslie Grinsell. CUT IN THE CHALK. Tonbridge: (Woodcraft Press), 1977, folio, half leather, paper-covered boards. not paginated.
Limited to 40 copies, numbered and signed by Owen Legg. Text by Grinsell, illustrations by Legg. Eleven full-page prints of hill figures illustrate the archeological information. Extra suite of prints housed in a folder affixed to the rear pastedown. Set in 24 pt Ehrhardt, type and linocuts are printed on Barcham Green Chrisbrook. The duplicate set of linocuts was printed on Japanese handmade paper. The second book of the press.
(Woodcraft Press) ARMOURERS' PLAY.|THE. Adam et Eva, Angellus cum vanga et oolo assignans, eis laborem. (Tonbridge: Woodcraft Press), 1973, folio, loose leaves contained in a folder which is housed in a slipcase. 10 leaves.
This is the artist's proof, numbered and signed by Owen Legg on each illustration. The text is from the York Cycle of mystery plays: modern English text by J.S. Purvis, middle English text by Lucy Toulmin Smith. Originally written over 400 years ago, various Guilds took responsibility for the pageant, costumes and actors. Thus the Armourers' Company maintained the sixth play in the cycle; that in which Adam and Eve are thrust out to till the earth. The plates are printed from linoleum blocks, usually in three colors. All the lettering is cut by hand and printed in colors to match the figures. The ten prints have been made on Barcham Green Waterleaf handmade paper in Double Elephant size which was subsequently halved to give a sheet size of 20" x 271/2". The folder of hand-made Japanese paper, along with the matching slipcase, has the coat of arms of the Armourers. This paper is made from mulberry leaves flecked with silk strands. Prospectus laid-in. Both the folder and the slipcase have some fading.
(Woodcraft Press) DANSE MACABRE.|LA. (Tonbridge, Woodcraft Press), 2009, 4to, leather boards silver-stamped with decoration, mylar dust jacket, slip case. Limited edition of 40. Text from a leaflet supplied by the chapel of Kermaria-an-Isquit, Plouha, Côtes d'Armor, France, from frescoes uncovered in 1866, when they were translated into modern French. Translated into English 2008. Printed on a Soldan press. Handset 18 pt italic Perpetua, 3 pt leaded used for the text. Printed on Fabriano no. 5. Linocuts of the frescoes taken from a post card supplied by the Kermaria church. Other prints based on football (soccer) photographs.
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> PRIVATE PRESS & FINE PRINTING, TWENTIETH CENTURY
> PRIVATE PRESS & FINE PRINTING, TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY
> WOODCRAFT PRESS
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> Jury, David (editor), BOOK ART OBJECT.
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One of 70 copies of the deluxe version bound thus. The separately issued portfolio contains a suite of photographs by Janet Stone of Myfanwy Piper, Lord David Cecil, Geoffrey Keynes, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Julian Huxley, Doublas Cleverdon, L.P. Hartley & Laurence Whistler. Matrix is the longest surviving and probably the last typographical journal to be printed by letterpress. It is an eclectic mix of fine printing, type design, and small press lore, forming a record of events and personalities whose memory would otherwise have died with their recorders. It is no exaggeration to say that in the future it will be impossible to research fine printing without reference to Matrix. This issue contains essays by Alan Powers on The Curwen Story, Andrew Anderson on Eric Gill, Humphrey Stone on the photographers, Janet Stone, David Hughes on the Baynard Press, James Fergusson on The Amate Press, Michael Harvey on Janet the Typeface, Hal Bishop on Ronald Salmond, John Randle on The Offizin Haag-Drugulin, Jerry Cinamon on Leipzig rambling, Andrew Dolinski on Poltawski, Barbara Henry on producing the Vandercook Book, Katherine McCanless-Ruffin on The Shinola Vandercook, and many more. Illustrated throughout with many tipped-in specimens on special paper, engravings, photographs. color plates, etc. Card regarding Matrix 29 loosely laid-in.