Pastorale, a selection of wood-engravings by Lucien Pissarro (son of Camille), was printed on three of Joseph Batchelor’s hand-made papers made to William Morris’ specification, from the original blocks lent to us by the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Charles Ricketts had advised his friend Pissarro to use this paper in the first place, but Lucien had preferred to use the French Rives, and the result we got from the blocks a hundred years later bears out Ricketts’ recommendation.

We were fortunate in having the Flower and Otter papers to hand, which came to us in the collection of hand-mades from Oxford University Press, and the Morgan Library in New York generously allowed us to have some of their precious stock of the third paper, the Crown and Sceptre, made for Pierpont Morgan around 1910 and never used. The full story of the paper is told by John Bidwell in his introduction to Pastorale.

We made an inauspicious start when we were printing the blue block of one of the colour subjects and found after fifty or so copies that we were using the wrong block (the colour blocks appear very similar in the wood). The black block (seen here) on the adjacent page had already been printed, and it seemed little short of criminal not to make use of this irreplaceable paper. So we set a keepsake around the black block, ignoring the blue image on the other side of the sheet.

This reprint is on the Otter paper, the only one of the three Batchelor papers we still have a stock of. The three papers have virtually identical surfaces and weights, only the sizes differ slightly, hence the formats of the three editions of Pastorale differ very slightly.

11 x 15 ins, 96-, 24- and 14-point Caslon, Batchelor’s Crown and Sceptre paper, wood-engraving by Lucien Pissarro, 50 copies.


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