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One Copy on Japanese Paper

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Dutch Private Presses and their Choice of Paper, 1910-42

image of Quaerendo

One of the essential characteristics of the private press working on the principles laid down by William Morris was the use of hand-made paper, and in practice a proprietary paper with a distinctive watermark, such as those that were manufactured for De Zilverdistel and De Heuvelpers. Morris’s rules were published in ‘The Ideal Book’, and could be checked from his Kelmscott Press books. They were initially followed to the letter by Dutch private presses, and prospectuses and publisher’s lists attest to this. The lack of information about paper in the colophons was copied after Morris’s example. However, a practical approach of printing implied that the ideal of hand-made paper was silently abandoned, when so-called hand-made Japanese papers were selected for some books, and for financial reasons papers with obsolete watermarks were used. In his printing studio, the idealistically inclined printer turned into a pragmatic artisan.

Affiliations: 1: Koninklijke Bibliotheek, National Library of the NetherlandsThe Hague


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