Page 17 - March 2014
P. 17

Tim Honnor (5578)

ON A fairly recent visit to the BriƟsh Library, The book starts with a fascinaƟng account of

conveniently located by the awesome St           the history of the press and the people of vision

Pancras StaƟon, I was aƩracted by a book with that the company employed. The press always

the below Ɵtle. Its subƟtle is The halcyon days wanted to keep at the forefront of technology,

of W.S Cowell Ltd. Printers. However, many of and their Directors were conƟnually travelling

us printers will be in tune with the dilemma across Europe to keep up with the latest

posed by the main Ɵtle….and as we might say prinƟng plant and developments. The following

“What’s New”.                                    chapters are mostly about specific books and

                                                                     many BPS

DO YOU WANT IT GOOD                                                  members will

OR DO YOU WANT IT TUESDAY                                            some of their
                                                                     childhood in

                                                                     Barbar the

The book, in the format of a landscape puffin, Elephant, The Marmalade Cat, Puffin Picture

is beauƟfully produced, with lovely illustra-    Books, Tim & Lucy Go to Sea, and perhaps

Ɵons, and careful and balanced typography and the most interesƟng of all their publicaƟons

design. It is wriƩen by Ruth Artmonsky who for us printers A Handbook of PrinƟng Types,

by going through the archives in the Suffolk published in 1947.

Record Office in Ipswich has clearly proved that   However, for me of course, Ravilious and the
from the 1930s to the 1960s, Cowells had been    Submarine Dream is the most perƟnent chapter,
at the forefront of their industry, parƟcularly  showing interior images of a warƟme diesel
when it came to colour prinƟng. She is par-      “Boat” described as ‘one of the most haunƟng
Ɵcularly interested in how the management        and enduring set of images of World War Two’.
of Cowells related with their commissioning      (Perhaps this could be the subject of another
publishers, arƟsts, designers, or madcap debu-   arƟcle!).
tantes. In one of the Cowell books A Handbook

of Type and IllustraƟon is said: “It is a sad fact I found this a fascinaƟng read and worth

that it illustraƟons are not ruined by poor re- £12.99 cover price.

producƟon or the use of an unsuitable process,

they are oŌen spoiled by unfortu-

nate placing on the paper, or by

juxtaposiƟon of an inappropriate

typeface. In addiƟon to this, one of

the main reasons for unsuccessful

graphic reproducƟon is that illus-

trators are oŌen bemused by the

beauty of the original work, and

give liƩle thought to what it might

look like when it is reproduced.

This aƫtude is not helped by the

unsympatheƟc approach of many

printers, publishers and block mak-

ers towards drawings that at first

sight may appear unsuitable for


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