Spotlight On: The Letter From The Author

Nov, 2020

Exclusive to our webstore.

'Venus, Cupid, Folly & Time - Thirty Years Of The Divine Comedy' is now back in stock at our webstore! Anyone buying the boxset from us also receives a numbered Letter From The Author written and signed by Neil. This lovely artefact was printed for us by The Letterpress Collective in Bristol who work with antique letterpress technology.

Here they tell us a little about themselves and the printing of Neil's letter:
"The Letterpress Collective was set up in 2013. The last commercial letterpress printer in Bristol had shut its doors the year before and we noticed a lot of type and typecases in car boot sales (which was a bit depressing). So we collected a few old presses and as much lead and wood type as we could find in Bristol and set about running workshops so that people in the city could not only understand how this six hundred year old process works, but also make something of their own with ink, paper and whatever was in their heads. Since then we have carried on collecting semi-redundant old letterpress stuff and put it to use printing for artists, musicians, poets and small local businesses. Somehow we are still here, we have a lovely printshop in an old arts cooperative in the middle of Bristol.

Our aim was to print Neil's letter on our 1964 Heidelberg Windmill press (it came from Leyhill Prison originally). The machine prints letterpress (the form of printing that Gutenberg invented in 1450 with moveable type). This way the typewriter font would make an impression on the recycled paper and look and feel like Neil had typed each one.

The red type at the top is handset lead type called Monotype Garamond. It was designed in the 1600s and this version was cut in the 1940s. We found a nice red signing pen for Neil to sign the letters with and matched the red ink of the letterhead to the pen colour.

Once printed we ran the letterheads through a third time for the numbering block, which automatically flicks the number on one each print, very old school and then ran the letterheads through a fourth time to cut them down to A4 - the press is brilliant as you can punch things out on it. Finally we packed them off to Neil in Kildare for signing!"