When Caxton Discovered

Hilary Pepler is among the most colourful exponents of twentieth-century letterpress printing. Here he allows his gaze to fall (inaccurately, see footnote) on the origins and socio-religious history (a few references missing here) of the printed word. But his sheer enthusiasm and self-deprecatory wit carries all, including us, before him, and what else can we do but sit back and applaud when this splendid diatribe is over?
Pepler’s modest pieces on show at the Ditchling Museum show that creativity does not have to be the servant of grandeur and technique. His use of Caslon on simple but wholesome papers, his economy and wit with words, his simple use of bold colour, have long been distant influences at Whittington. ‘The Hand Press, though a thing of the city, can be moved to a place where gas and electricity have not penetrated. Moreover, in my ignorance, I though any fool could print.’ This should be a mantra for all those who wish to slip away and print in peace and quiet by some distant meadow.

This poster first appeared in Matrix 27, on p. 173.

18 ½ x 14 ½ ins,96-, 72- 60- 48-, 42-,36-,30-,24-, 22-, and 14-point Caslon, Zerkall Ingres mould-made, wood-engraving by Hellmuth Weissenborn, 850 copies.


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