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About the book

From the margins of medieval manuscripts and printed books to posters, advertisements and direction signs of the 19th century and beyond, the manicule – derived from the Latin manicula, 'little hand' – or printer's fist has been pointing the way for readers for hundreds of years, cajoling us to pay attention. In March 2019 the Making Books Research Centre at Bath Spa University invited today's letterpress practitioners to submit work inspired by the device: over eighty printers and printmakers took up the challenge to celebrate this universal icon in all its glory. The diversity of submissions is striking, with numerous visual puns but no two puns alike, and the number of fists utilized ranging from zero (!) to 3131 – the latter painstakingly hand-stamped onto 30gsm Washi paper.

The catalogue presents just under a hundred pieces of work alphabetically by exhibitor, featuring short descriptions of the press's or individual's letterpress activities alongside photographs of their work spaces, or their work in the making. The smell of ink seems to rise from the page, and A Show of Hands celebrates not only a universal icon but also the craft of letterpress and the skills of its practitioners.

“One of the best letterpress exhibitions I have ever been to” – Miles Wigfield, Newsletter, Oxford Guild of Printers


148 x 210mm

10,000 words text
200 colour photographs
112 pages, paperback

PUBLICATION 27 September 2019


ISBN 978-1-5272-4758-9

Copies of the book are available direct from us or from the Corsham Bookshop, 16 Martingate, Corsham SN13 0HL, tel 01249 715988,

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Tim Jollands


Tim's introduction to letterpress came at the Whittington Press, where he spent two years as John Randle's assistant from September 1975. His gift on departure for London and a career in publishing was some Caslon type, which he printed with for several years but which lay dormant after he moved to the West Country – until, by pure chance, he discovered that an Albion press had arrived at Corsham Court, four hundred yards from his home. In his eyes, and those of Bath Spa University, which appointed him a Visiting Research Fellow, serendipity could not be ignored and Tim now spends much of his time developing the Michael Turner Albion Press Room. Here he runs a range of non-vocational workshops for University staff and students and others interested in this endangered craft. As curator of 'A Show of Hands' and author of this catalogue, Tim hopes to inspire others to get inky and discover the joys and tribulations of letterpress.


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