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Albion Press Launch – Bath Spa University

Michael Turner Albion Press Launch at Corsham Court: 28 January 2017

The press was officially launched in our Corsham Court Gallery with practical demonstrations, which provided guests with a keepsake to take away.

The Corsham Court campus of Bath Spa University, the Making Books: Creativity, Print Culture, and the Digital Research Centre and the Bath School of Art and Design held a launch event at Corsham Court on Saturday 28th January 2017 from 12–3pm featuring the Albion Press.

An Albion Press is an iron hand-operated printing press. Originally designed and manufactured by Richard Whittaker Cope in London in 1820 and manufactured until the 1930s, Albions printed commercial books until the middle of the nineteenth century. Perhaps the most famous uses of the Albion Press were in London during the Arts and Crafts Movement, namely by William Morris at the Kelmscott Press, T.J. Cobden-Sanderson at the Doves Press and St. John Hornby at the Ashendene Press.

Albion Press no. 1423, made between 1840-45 by Hopkinson & Cope, has been generously donated by Michael Turner, formerly Head of Conservation at the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford. The gift was secured by Ian Gadd whose PhD on the English book trade was supervised by Michael.

The Michael Turner Albion Press is located at Corsham Court. Cultural historian Robert Hewison has said that ‘creativity comes from being at the point of exchange’ and the press will form a point of active and creative exchange between text, image and making for staff and students.

The afternoon launch event began with a welcome address by Professor Christina Slade, former Vice Chancellor of Bath Spa University, followed by lunch in the Barn, alongside a poetry reading by J.H. Prynne, followed by a Q & A with Bridget Heal (designer), Bruce McLean (artist) and John James (poet) for a conversation about their recent livre d’artiste, On Reading J.H. Prynne’s Sub Songs. Bridget and Ivor Heal are alumni of Bath Academy of Art at Corsham.

This collaborative project for their QoD Press showcases what an Albion press can produce, and is a beautiful and creative collaboration in book making. The press was officially launched in the Gallery with practical demonstrations, which provided guests with a keepsake to take away.

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