Sunday, 19 December 2010

Off With Their Heads - Peter Chasseaud's new typographical print

With thanks to Lewis Carroll, who featured this phrase in Alice in Wonderland (the Queen of Hearts ordering the decapitation of the three gardeners).

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Dada Christmas - Do You Dada?

A couple of examples of recent things I've printed from wood blocks on the Albion handpress at The Tom Paine Printing Press, using Khadi hand-made paper.

Friday, 3 September 2010


Here is a limited edition typographical print which I've been producing to launch my new poetic photobook The East London Line at the Whitechapel Art Book Fair (Thursday 23rd to Sunday 26th September). The large-format softback book, under my imprint Altazimuth Press, will be in a limited edition of 100.

I've been producing the print on my wooden 'common press', a replica of an 18th century press, and as the press is a two-pull press, and therefore has a small platen, I have to pull and wind-on two or three times to obtain one print.

The print is composed in metal type and wood letter on the stone bed of the press. I will have some for sale at the Whitechapel, along with the book, and also a few of my limited edition typographical map, printed in black, red and blue, also entitled the East London Line (see an earlier post).

Friday, 13 August 2010

New Letterpress Work in July

Here are some images of a couple of new things I've produced on the hand press during July

Monday, 14 June 2010

East London Line typographic / cartographic print

This is a proof of my new East London Line typographic / cartographic limited edition print. I set the type on Friday and Saturday, and proofed it on Sunday. It's also a typographic experiment towards my East London Line book, which I will launch at the Whitechapel Art Book Fair in September.

This print celebrates the reopening of the East London Line (which has now been subsumed into the 'Overground' system), but is also intended to preserve the memory of the old East London Line, as well as the London, Surrey, West Indai, East India and other Docks and the working class communities of the areas covered. Action by government, local authorities and developers (nowadays called 'regeneration') has, since the war, erased whole areas of the old London. They have done more damage than Hitler's bombs.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Rights of Man, Billy Budd and an 1843 Albion press

I've printed a new typographical poster 'Rights o' Man' (Budd's merchant ship, named after Tom Paine's 1791-2 seminal work) before he was pressed into HMS Indomitable (a name which did not appear in Herman Melville's original story). to mark the terrific new production of Benjamin Britten's Billy Budd at Glyndebourne. I printed this poster before I attended the dress rehearsal, and, even so, wouldn't want to change it much. But my posters have a habit of transmuting within short periods of time! So within an edition of, say, 50 posters there could actually be several different printing states. The one shown above does not have the red stars by Captain Vere's name ('Starry Vere') which appear in a slightly later state.

I've just taken delivery of a small 1843 Albion press (see photo above), constructed in the sixth year of Queen Victoria's reign, which I will be able to use for printing broadsides, woodblocks and other relief work. I haven't measured the platen yet, but it can print foolscap (bigger than A4). This is now installed on a stout table in the Press at 151 High Street, Lewes, along with the big common press (which, of course, sits on the floor).

Just got back from Toronto, where I visited the very friendly and interesting Coach House Press (two Heidelbergs), and also Don Black's amazing letterpress warehouse. There's an interesting exhibition relating to the Coach House Press and its work since 1970 in the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in Toronto. This is a wonderful gallery and, quite apart from lots of great art (including Rembrandt etchings at present), there's a fine collection of model ships in the basement. If you're interested in naval architecture (Billly Budd, Wooden Walls, Hearts of Oak, etc.) this is well worth a long look.

Sunday, 16 May 2010


This is my new 'writers and poets' letterpress poster, printed in a similar way to the previous two ('political philosphers' and 'artists') using a combination of wood letter and metal type.

I shall be showing all these posters, and more, at the Antiquarian Book Fair at Olympia (London) in June, at the Whitechapel Art Book Fair in September, and the fine press fair at St Bride Printing Library in (I think) November this year.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

'ARTISTS' typographical poster

Here is an image of my new 'Artists' typographical poster, similar in style to the 'Political Philosophers' poster I printed recently (see previous post). This is the second in this series of limited edition posters.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Political Philosophers Poster

This is a proof of a new 'Political Philosophers' poster I've been printing yesterday and today on the common press. The type ranges from 36 point metal type (smallest) up to 38 Line Pica (over 6 inches) wood letter (largest). There is a free poster prize for identifying the (Russian?) philosopher Yelnatsniw!

In the production copies, Wollstonecraft has two 'L's, and there a few other changes. Hegel appears, inverted above Marx (any guesses why?). Hobbes has disappeared, and Lilburne has been added. I would have added more and more names, but ran out of space. I could fit more in (Plato, Aristotle, de Beauvoir . . . ) but would have to use smaller and smaller type, which defeats the object. Less is more?

I hope to produce more posters in this series - Artist, Poets, Printers, etc.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Pages Exhibition - Gutenberg to Ernst and more

For our next exhibition we have lots of interesting pages from books from the 15th century to contemporary Artists Books; - a facsimile page from the Gutenberg 1455 Bible (signed by Stephen Fry – made for his TV program about the Gutenberg press made by Alan May – the same person who made our Common Press), -one from the Nuremberg Chronicle (genuine 1493);some from various productions by the St Dominic's Press, at Ditchling,; surrealist pages from Une Semaine de Bonte by Max Ernst, which was sponsored by Roland Penrose who lived near Lewes in Chiddingly; various title pages from the 16th to the 19th century, and examples from contemporary Artists Books, including some Trant/Chasseaud golden oldies; some are typographical examples, some have images:any of them could be a talking point framed on the wall.

We can assure everyone no books were harmed in the making of this event!

The exhibition runs from April 27th until May 29th, closed Sundays and Mondays; at the same time we will have our usual changing selection of books, prints, cards, posters, magazines and printed ephemera.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Caslon Type Crisis, and some Black Letter types

I decided to set the black letter types held at The Tom Paine Printing Press, as this would help me to read them (particularly the caps) better. The specimen above shows the range from 48 point to 6 point. The first three are very old founders' type from The Caxton Press, and the descriptions I have given are those printed on the old labels on the case.


Help! I heard today from the USA that the new owners of the Dale Guild Type Foundry have decided to close down some or all of their type-casting operations, and have dumped some 1,000 lbs weight of Caslon 14 point Italic Swash and Quaint characters. I'll have to check this information, but I was relying on the Dale Guild to supply The Tom Paine Printing Press with these swash and quaint characters. Does anyone out there in the typosphere know where I can obtain these rare Caslon founts? I'm looking for all sizes from 12 point to 72 point, but particularly 14pt, 18pt and 24pt.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

A Page of Typographical Ornaments, etc

I set and printed this sheet to see what I could do with all my odd letters and ornaments. It's still developing . . . I like experimenting with inking-up individual characters and lines in different colours.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Creative Typography

See my Peter Chasseaud - Artist & Writer blog ( for more about these two images of my current work at the Press - a foot-square Valentine, and a version of Moxon's 17th Century capital 'E'.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Typography Books, Artists' Books, Printing, Artists' Prints

The Tom Paine Printing Press and Press Gallery is now building up a range of new and secondhand books on typography and graphic design, private presses, fine press books, artists' books, and artists' prints as well as letterpress and line-block material printed by Peter Chasseaud on the wooden hand-press (Common Press). I've just printed a valentine card about a foot square, using wood type on Khadi hand-made paper.

We will also be stocking books on printing history, methods and processes - including letterpress, lithography, etching, relief printing, etc.