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J.H. Mason: scholar-printer

26/10/2011

The name may not be familiar to many, but JH Mason was highly regarded by typographers throughout the early to mid 2oth century. He was one of those individuals, rare nowadays, who came from an obscure and impoverished background to make a long-lasting mark in his chosen profession or trade. Mason was self-educated, spoke many languages (including Oriental) and was employed as compositor by Cobden-Sanderson and the equally as legendary Count Harry Kessler of the Cranach Press. For many years Mason worked at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London, where this illustration was produced under his guidance. (I like the sentiment, hence the choice. It is taken from The Memoirs of Benvenuto Cellini.)

For more of this man see JH Mason by LT Owens, Muller, 1976.

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