Page 13 - July 2017
P. 13

|  Book Review |                                     |  Ian Knight  (10750)  |


       The Nature Printer - Simon Prett and Pia Ostlund

             s she began to immerse herself   investigation into a printmaking process,
             in the Victorian publication The   Pia starts to unravel an apparent case of
       AFerns of Great Britain and Ireland   Victorian industrial espionage involving
       Nature (printed by Henry Bradbury at the   Bradbury and Austrian Louis Auer, the
       Chelsea Physic Garden Library), little did   then director of the Austrian Government
       Swedish printmaker Pia Ostlund know   printing offi ce, who was also laying claim
       that this was to be the start of a fi ve-year   to the ownership of this process.
       personal quest                                           This book
       to discover and                                         is an inspiring
       bring back to life                                      demonstration by
       a captivating but                                       author Simon Prett
       long-lost nature                                        of one person’s
       printing process.                                       unrelenting
        The images                                             persistence to
       of fern leaves                                          successfully re-
       within Bradbury’s                                       create the beauty
       volume were both                                        of this short-lived
       visually captivating                                    Victorian printing
       and stunningly                                          process, despite
       detailed thanks                                         encountering
       to their unique                                         numerous
       transparency,                                           disappointments
       which one would                                         and setbacks.
       normally expect                                         The 171-page
       only from a                                             paperback book
       modern-day X-ray                                        includes 32
       image. Further                                          pages of colour
       volumes by                                              plates of nature
       Bradbury applied                                        printing and, most
       this process to                                         importantly, Pia’s
       other fl ora and                                         success in bringing
       other objects with equal success.     the process back to life.
         As Pia embarks upon her quest         The Nature Printer by Simon Prett and
       with enthusiastic input from specialist   Pia Ostlund is published by The Timpress
       nature printers, printmaking studios,   and is available to order from their
       Pteridologists (fern-enthusiasts),    website www.thetimpress.com. It costs
       academics, electroplating companies   £10. The Timpress have also letterpress
       and even back-street car-repairers, her   printed a leatherbound limited edition
       research also reveals that Bradbury’s   of 75 copies on 170g Somerset paper,
       claims to the discovery of this mysterious   which includes a signed copy of Pia’s
       nature printing process are not all as   fi rst nature print. Needless to say, all 75
       they seem.                            copies have already been sold.
         So in parallel to her ongoing
                                                                           161
   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18