03.2 / Imperial Series

Imperial — 22 x 30 inches

Printmaking Papers are still made & supplied in Imperial sizes. My preference for producing high quality letterpress prints is: 100% Cotton, cylinder mould made, acid free & archival paper — either with 3 or 4 deckle edges. The weight can vary — depending on the manufacturer — but is usually 250/280/300gsm.

My Vandercook Universal IV press can take this ‘Imperial’ sheet size, so a majority of my work is conceived with this in mind.

The ‘Imperial series’ is a variety of ideas & compositions — both portrait & landscape — using full-size ‘Imperial’ sheets.

Imperial Paper sizes

Before the United Kingdom adopted the ISO 216 standard*, British Imperial paper sizes were used.
‘The Imperial paper sizes were used to define large sheets of paper, and the naming convention was derived from the sheet name, and how many times it was folded. For example ‘Royal’ paper is 508mm x 635mm, and when it is folded three times, it makes 8 sheets and goes by the name ‘Royal Octavo’ which is 10 x 6½ inches.’

* International standard paper sizes
The international paper size standard is ISO 216. It is based on the German DIN 476 standard for paper sizes. Each ISO paper size is one half of the area of the next larger size in the same series.

UK Imperial Paper Sizes —

Foolscap — 14 x 18¾ inches /
Demy — 15½ x 20 inches /
Medium — 17½ x 22½ inches /
Royal — 19 x 24 inches /
Super Royal — 19¼ x 27 inches /
Imperial — 22 x 30 inches /
Elephant — 23 x 28 inches /
Double Elephant — 26½ x 40 inches /
Atlas — 26¼ x 34 inches /
Columbier — 23½ x 35 inches /
Antiquarian — 31 x 53 inches

The composition of type metal

A specimen of ‘Grotesque’ metal types held in the case at Mr Smith’s Letterpress Workshop.

Based on the design of the Periodic Table of Elements — contained in a 12 x 8 12 pica grid — the work sets out to display the range of sizes & styles of each of the categories of types held in the workshop. The smaller type sizes being in the first columns — 6 / 8 / 10 etc — progressing to the largest in column 12 at 72 pt. There are 8 rows that contain the 8 different styles of san serif.

Contained within the structure are the three elements that make-up the material composition of lead type.

Made with care for the ’94 Elements’ project (an idea by Mike Paterson). Designed, set & printed with the help of the four ‘young turks’ at the Camberwell School of Art Press, — Alex, Freddy, Jake & Paul in 2012.

Designed, hand-set & printed Letterpress
Printed with Light & Dark Grey & 072 Blue ink on 280gsm BFK Rives Grey

Imperial size — 30 x 22 inches
(760 x 560 mm)

Go to Section 10 of the Print Shop

In printing, metal type is cast from a combination of three metallic elements. The percentage of each metal depends on the usage of the type but the general rule for type held in the case is:

74 percent Lead: heavy, poisonous, malleable & ducktile but soft & weak.

18 percent Antimony: brittle, but when alloyed strengthens the metal.

10 percent Tin: soft & ductile but wear resistant & fluid when molten to give a finer face to the type.

6 & 9 Characters in search of a Case

These letterforms are orphans . . .

They don’t belong /
they are oddities /
they arrived without a family /
part of a job lot /
acquired / swapped / donated . . .

But they are all well loved
& certainly well used /
together they don’t say anything /
but they look great
& work well as a team
& at least
they now have a place to rest . . .

. . .

Designed, hand-set & printed Letterpress /
with Wood letter  /
in a limited edition of 12 /
Signed by the Artist

Printed in a special Green/Grey ink
on 280gsm BFK Rives Grey /
with a vertical blind de-bossed credit /
3 deckles & 1 torn edge /
Imperial size sheet — 22 x 30 inches
(560 x 760 mm)

Sold unframed as  pair £350

Go to Section 6 the Print Shop

Grisaille series

“If I see everything in grey, and in grey all the colours which I experience and which I would like to reproduce, then why should I use any other colour?”

“I’ve tried doing so, for it was never my intention to paint only with grey. But in the course of my work I have eliminated one colour after another, and what has remained is grey, grey, grey!”

Alberto Giacometti

. . .

Designed, hand-set & printed Letterpress
Printed with a hand-mixed Grey ink
on 280gsm Arches 88 (4 deckle edges)

Imperial size sheet — 22 x 30 inches
(560 x 760 mm)

Go to Section 9 of the Print Shop

Francis Guerin

“Could it be that Grey is the colour best able to represent this feeling of a strange, unknowable reality? Certainly, the irresolution and ephemerality of the colour grey seems well-suited to . . . ongoing and impossible search to represent modernity.”