Francesco Griffo da Bologna - Fragments & Glimpses

This post is the first of two parts highlighting the (second) publication of Francesco Griffo da Bologna - Fragments & Glimpses. The book is being issued this month in an edition of 50 numbered copies, in three different states. Two of the editions are being shipped from the binders' studios, so even I haven't seen them yet. Images and some details of those two states will be featured in next month's post. For now, you get shots of a copy cased in quarter cloth and paper here at HM. 

A summary of the book, and details of the three states can be found on the HM site. Last month's post provided some details on the Aldine carcass that provided the leaves included in each copy. Sadly or not, the leaves that were truly orphan - the ones used in F&G - were the most weather-beaten. (The one shown above is among the worst, used here in a trial binding copy; most leaves in the edition have less drastic staining, if any at all.)  Aside from some basic surface cleaning, I left them alone. Griffo's type, and Aldus's design remain perfectly clear. The best leaf books provide a text that the leaf illustrates, and that was my goal here (and with all of HM's lead books), so whatever an individual leaf's imperfections, it offers a direct connection to the men and materials at the heart of this story. 

The copies bound (cased) at HM were sewn, rounded, and put into quarter cloth. The paper covering the boards is the HM Text Reg Lissel used to make. These sheets were printed on one side during Elements in Correlation (2009) but never backed up. 
The paper was too nice to just pulp, so I kept it around all these years. When I started playing around with painting and printing patterns, I pulled the Reg sheets out. The paper is beautiful and strong. These sheets were first dyed, then painted with two acrylic washes (silver over blue), and pressed to dry. The impression of the type in the paper creates very faint horizontal bands that can (almost) be seen when light hits at the right angle.  

That was a very long project. Getting the text finalized and set took 18 months working full time, printing took five months, binding another three. I can't see myself undertaking a book of this length again. It gets  b o r i n g  (& I've already found two typos; I'm sure there are more, don't feel the need to report them). This fall, just to cleanse the palate, I am going to print a chapbook of just eight pages, Griffo's brief preface to his 1516 edition of Petrarch in the original Italian and translated into English, set in Cancelleresca Bastarda, printed on some Richard de Bas paper of which I have enough for an edition of 30 copies. The English translation is included in Fragments & Glimpses (the page opposite the leaf, up above, and the original Italian is included in the five "Dutch" copies, written out in a beautiful italic by Martin Jackson (i.e. an original holograph copy in each of the five books, shown above).  

Next in the press will be the first publication from Barbara Hodgson's Byzantium imprint. It's another collaboration with Claudia Cohen, tentatively titled Paper Botanists. After that I'm thinking of a checklist for all HM publications 2000 - 2020. Then something new. 
When discussing leaf books, questions of intellectual value and ethics sometimes are raised (not unreasonably). For what they're worth, my thoughts on those matters were summarized in this post from a few years ago. 

After four decades on Granville Island, and seven decades as a printer, David Clifford has shuttered Black Stone Press. About time too. We've been telling him he's working himself to the bone for years...