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Bookshapes - November 1979

November 1979, no. 16

Bookshapes - November 1979

November 1979, no. 16

Notes of an Australian Vine Grower, by Hubert de Castella. Mast Gully Press, Melbourne. Printed and bound by Griffin Press.

The first book of yet another publisher of limited editions deserves our close attention. The cult of the limited edition has many followers in Australian publishing today. Some of them work on the principle that if you limit the edition, you can delimit the price, and that collectors and librarians will not be able to resist, even if there is more ‘Dulux’ than ‘deluxe’ to the style of your production.

Mast Gully Press is not like that. Its translation of de Castella’s text of the 1880s is a serious, ‘classical’ book in every way, as the title running up the spine foretells. The design is simple and pleasant. The brown ink on creamy paper looks pleasant too, and the Monotype Baskerville is appropriate.

Although the word spacing could be tighter. It is an anachronistic comment to make, but you cannot print really well by letterpress on hard-sized offset papers; a soft paper is needed to receive the impression. The printing of this book is rather speckled, and I dare say it gave the craftsmen of Griffin Press a lot of anxiety. The result would have been better by offset.

This is a one-colour book of eighty-six pages in a limited edition of 800 copies costing $40. That is a lot of copies for a ‘limited’ printing: I can’t think that an unlimited edition would have been much greater. Be that as it may, this is a pleasing book, even if printed by the wrong process. 2 picas.

From the New Issue

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