The Albion Press, with particular reference to New Zealand
Hello New Zealand. This article is prompted by a piece written by Reynolds Stone, an eminent wood engraver, in the Journal of the Printing Historical Society, 1966, 2, 58-73, too which I either subscribed or obtained a back copy. (Actually the latter, as I did once have an Albion and was curious as to antecedents.)
Stone starts his piece with reference to Cockerell and the Kelmscott Press (which I have alluded to in this blog), and states that in the 1890s Albions “were still two a penny…They were taken for granted; but it is now possible to see them as a product peculiar to the nineteenth century. Like a sailing ship of the same period they were the last flowering of a traditional method brought to something near perfection: efficient and beautiful objects, and both dependent on skilled and cheap labour.” How often does that arise – ‘cheap labour’? Think of Apple and iPads and China.
The reference to my comrades in NZ is the fact that when this article was written, according to Stone, an Albion was still in daily use at the National Printing Co. of Auckland, in fact a 1825 model used for proofing. If those readers of this live in or near Auckland could do a bit of sniffing and find this press much gratitude will ensue (and no doubt another piece in the blog).