Friday, March 16, 2012

Some Very Special Bindings From Gwasg Gregynog Press

by Stephen J. Gertz

THOMAS. R.S. Laboratories of the Spirit.
Newtown: Gwasg Gregynog, 1976

Number 5 of 15 copies signed by the author
and specially bound by Sally Lou Smith.

Crushed blue levant morocco (signed "S.L.S."), with morocco
onlays and gilt tooling, t.e.g., publisher's morocco solander box.

Esslemont and Hughes 01.

A rare cache of specially-bound books published by Gregynog Press/Gwasg Gregynog Press is coming to auction at Bonham's, March 27, 2012

THOMAS, Dylan. Deaths and Entrances.
Newtown: Gwasg Gregynog, 1984.

Number 14 OF 18 specially bound by James Brockman.  

Morocco with an abstract landscape design of brown morocco with
blue, grey, green, and yellow inlays with gilt blocked decoration, g.e.
Preserved in publisher's velvetine-lined morocco-backed solander box.

Esslemont and Hughes 9.

The  nine lots  include bindings by masters James Brockman, Sally  Lou  Smith, Alan  Wood,  and Desmond  Shaw.

WILLIAMS, Kyffin (illus.), ROBERTS, Kate.
Two Old Men and Other Stories.
Newtown, Gregynog Press, 1981

Number 12 of 15 specially bound copies by Desmond Shaw
with the frontispiece hand-colored by the artist.

Red morocco (signed "D.S."), in a Welsh landscape design
with cottage and stone wall after Williams.
In original velvetine-lined book box.

Esslemont and Hughes 5.

The Gregynog Press was established in 1922, the brainchild of two sisters, Gwendoline and Margaret Davies. Located at their house, Gregynog Hall, in rural mid-Wales, during the next eighteen years the Press gained a reputation for producing limited edition books of the highest order and ranked alongside the leading Private Presses of the day.

WHITMAN, Walt. Wrenching Times.
Newtown: Gwasg Gregynog, 1991

Number 6 of 30 specially bound copies.

Publisher's full calf, with an all design of mountains beneath
a blue sky made up of coloured morocco onlays.
Publisher's fabric-lined solander box.

Re-established in 1978 under the Welsh title Gwasg Gregynog, the Press continues the traditions of its founders, and in January of 2002 was registered as a charity.

REES, Joan Bowen (ed.). The Mountains of Wales.
Newtown: Gwasg Gregynog, 1987.

Number 6 OF 20 copies specially bound by James Brockman.

Transparent vellum boards with abstract design of colored morocco overlays,
preserved in original velvetine-lined quarter morocco solander box.

Esslemont and Hughes 16.

Gwasg Gregynog integrates the traditional crafts of hot-metal typesetting, letterpress printing and hand-binding by the finest craftsmen, into books featuring illustrations by leading contemporary artists, printing on handmade and mould-made papers, and the finest binding materials.

TAYLOR, Armold. Four Great Castles. Caernarfon. Conwy. Harlech. Beaumaris.
Newtown: Gwasg Gregynog, 1983.

Number 11 OF 15 copies specially bound by James Brockman.

Morocco gilt by James Brockman, with all-over design of castle battlements
in gilt and coloured morocco inlays, t.e.g. In original velvetine-lined quarter
morocco book box.

Esslemont and Hughes 7.

The private press books of Gwasg Gregynog are amongst the finest currently produced. While the intricate bindings of the specially-bound copies present a  visual feast, the books themselves display beauty and harmony and are designed not only to be read but to delight the senses, as well.

PARRY, Robert Williams. Cerddi,
Newtown: Gwasg Gregynog, 1980.

Number 14 of 15 copies specially bound by Sydney Cockerell
after a design by Joan Rix Tebbutt.

Green crushed morocco (signed "J.S."), the upper cover with a flower
pattern tooled in blind and gold, t.e.g., publisher's felt-lined book box.

Esslemont and Hughes 4.

The goals of the original Gregynog Press, as declared by the Founders, were:

• To introduce and encourage fine printing in Wales.
• To print certain literature, in both English and Welsh, which relates to Wales and  the Welsh, and which has been hitherto unavailable except in rare volumes.
• To print editions of the English Classics.
• To bind all work at the Press Bindery.

WILLIAMS, Kyffin. Cutting Images.
A Selection of Linocuts by Kyffin Williams.
Newtown, Gwasg Gregynog, 2002.

Number 14 of 20 copies specially bound by Alan Wood
after a design by Williams.

With an additional suite of 9 linocuts all numbered and signed by the artist,
preserved in publisher's solandar box case designed by Williams.

As for  the  Press's  resurrection, "the  moving  force  in  recreating  Gwasg Gregynog  was  Glyn Tegai Hughes…In 1969, with  encouragement  from  the  Welsh  Arts  Council, a  Gregynog  Fellowship was established…Subsequent  Gwasg  Gegynog  books,  produced  under the  direction  of  Eric  Gee,  with assistance of Daivd Vickers, have also included attractive work…" (Cave, R. The Private Press, p. 242, 2d ed.).

ESCHENBACH, Wolffram von.
The Romance of Parzival and the Holy Grail.
Newtown: Gwasg Gregynog, 1990

Number 10 OF 15 copies specially bound by James Brockman.

Limp calf suede with covers interlaced with stained vellum straps
laced through the covers with tablets of wood, bone and enamelled metal
 on spine.

Preserved in publisher's silk-lined solander box.

Esslemont and Hughes 21.


Images courtesy of Bonham's, with our thanks.

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