Late letterpress: the work of Desmond Jeffery

  • Exhibition at St Bride Library
  • Tuesday 27 October – Friday 13 November 2009
  • In the Exhibition Room, St Bride Foundation
  • Open 12.30 to 6.00pm Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays,
    12.30 to 9.00pm on Wednesdays,
    and from 2.30 to 6.00pm on Thursdays
  • Admission free
  • Evening talk
  • Tuesday 27 October 2009 at 7pm (exhibition preview from 5.30pm)
  • In the Bridewell Hall, St Bride Foundation
  • Admission £7 · concessions £5 · Friends of St Bride £3
  • Pay on the door

As a direct and elegant means of putting words on paper, letterpress remained vigorous until the end of its useful life about forty years ago. In 1950 the power of this unmediated route from original text to printed sheet caught the imagination of a young returning serviceman, Desmond Jeffery. He saw in the work of Anthony Froshaug what could be done with hand-set letterpress. Unlike Froshaug, for whom it was a matrix upon which to develop a design programme, for Desmond the practice was the programme. He equipped himself with an Adana, an Albion and a collection of foundry types, most of them imported, then in 1956 took over a jobbing letterpress workshop in Marylebone, where he installed a Heidelberg platen. Customers ranged from the Stevens Shanks foundry to Mayfair galleries, the Goldsmiths’ Company to the Partisan coffee house. This is the first public exhibition of his work.

In a talk on 27 October, Paul Stiff, James Mosley and Ian McLaren will contribute personal views of Desmond and his work, to be followed by discussion with other speakers.

Printing and beyond