- New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Press, 2019.
- 7.125 x 9.25 inches
- hardcover, dust jacket
- 216 pages
- ISBN: 9781584563839
Price: $95.00 other currencies
Order Nr. 133470
This book is an attempt to give a comprehensive sense of Emery Walker as a person, along with his career and achievements, in part through correspondence with important people in his life. The letters are accompanied by brief biographies of the correspondents and essays that examine some of the key stages and achievements of Walker's career.
Walker was a key figure in the world of design, typography and printing, in the teaching and dissemination of those crafts, and in the cultural landscape of late nineteenth and early twentieth century Britain. But the effects of his contributions also spread to the United States and mainland Europe, and the ripple of their influence helped determine the design ethos of the twentieth century and beyond. He was called the "Universal Samaritan," his help and advice likened to a vital amenity like water, and free of charge.
In spite of his enormous influence, Walker himself has largely remained in the shadows, low-key even in the most notorious dispute in typographic history over the rights to the Doves Press type-the pronouncements and self-justifications of his former partner Thomas Cobden-Sanderson dominated the affair. Simon Loxley's category-defying and highly accessible curation of Walker's life presents him in all his dimensions. His creative and inspirational career is highlighted in separate features: the Kelmscott Press, the Doves Press, the Ashendene and Cranach Presses, and his collaborations with Bruce Rogers: the short-lived Mall Press, and the aesthetic triumph of The Odyssey of Homer. His contributions to the design and use of two Greek typeface designs, Selwyn Image's Macmillan Greek and Robert Proctor's Otter Type, are also examined.
Interwoven with these is a selection of 143 letters spanning 60 years, most never previously published, that gives us a picture of Walker the man in both his professional and personal life. He seemed to "know everyone," and short biographies of the principal correspondents help contextualize the letters. The result is a fascinating picture of Emery Walker, his family and friends, the people he knew and the times he lived in: times of aesthetic vision, social revolution dreamed and actual, and world war, culminating in a symbolic, poignant valediction to Arts and Crafts as the shadow of another conflict loomed. The texts are accompanied by over 140 images, many of them, once again, never before published.
Simon Loxley is a graphic designer and a writer on design, typography and design history. In addition to this book, he is the author of Type is Beautiful: The Story of Fifty Remarkable Fonts (Bodleian Library, 2016), Printers Devil: The Life and Work of Frederic Warde (Godine, 2013), and Type: The Secret History of Letters (I.B. Tauris, 2004). He designed the Emery Walker's House logo, and he designed and edited (2006-2016) Ultrabold, the Journal of St. Bride Library. He is also the designer of this book.