Tuesday, 11 August 2009

The Albion

I got to have a go on an Albion press this afternoon – get me! I spent a very pleasant afternoon at the home of wood engraver and fellow Red Hot Press member Jutta Manser who is the proud owner of a small Albion press. And what a thing of beauty it is. Jutta showed me how it worked and I printed a couple of my own wood engraving blocks on it; wonderful.

Made in 1884, it’s a magnificent piece of engineering. And ornate with its gold paintwork on black. One has to keep reminding oneself that these were actually working machines used in the printing trade, not merely decorative ornaments. Even the feel of it, winding the plate in and out and pulling across the handle with a satisfying clunk, is most gratifying. I can’t help but wonder about its history; where it’s been for the last 120 odd years… and how nice it is to be a little part of that history, if only a speck.

And congratulations to Jutta for having two prints selected for the Society of Wood Engravers annual show at Bankside Gallery, London in September. Richly deserved.

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