Monday, 1 December 2008

Taking Liberties at the British Library; Tom Paine Printing Press

The Tom Paine Printing Press approaches completion

Last week I went to see the wonderful exhibition Taking Liberties - The Struggle for Britain's Freedoms and Rights - at the British Library ( This is on until 1st March 2009, and includes iconic documents from the BL's collections - from Magna Carta, through the Declaration of Right, Colonel Rainborough's Leveller statement during the Putney Debates, Tom Paine's The Rights of Man, Mary Wolstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Women, the Bill of Rights, the Chartists, and the Suffragettes, to the Civil Rights Movement in America, the Counter-Culture of the 1960s and 1970s, Gay Lib, and the Human Rights Act of 1998. The exhibition includes a great deal of original printed material - books, documents, posters, etc. - which gives an insight into a wide range of letterpress and relief printing.

Last Friday I went to see the Tom Paine Printing Press (an 18th-century-style common press - a 'two-pull' press) as it nears completion at Alan May's home near Stafford - see the link to my Tom Paine Printing Press blog (, on which I've posted a lot of my photos. Alan May built the 'Gutenberg one-pull press' for Stephen Fry's recent TV programme 'The Machine that Made Us'. One of my photos is at the top of this post.
Advance warning.
I shall be showing my artist's books (poetic photobooks) at the Watercolours, Drawings and Works on Paper Fair at Covent Garden (the old flower cellars) at the end of Jan/start of Feb 2009. Maybe I can get my new East London Line book done by then? (or Borough Market? a wgreat place for Christmas shopping, and a pint or two of Harveys bitter at the Market Porter or one of the other good pubs nearby. Harveys of Lewes had and have a strong connection with the Kentish hop fields, hence this connection - the Hop Exchange and various hop factors were nearby).

1 comment:

Nancy Campbell said...

how exciting! Hope you will post up the first document printed on the press.