Sponsored by The Book Club of California
Australia has a long history of fine printing, which is mostly unknown outside of the country itself. ‘Printing is like religion’, acclaimed Australian book artist Alec Bolton once said, ‘We live in sin, but with the hope of perfection before us.’ And while his life circled around books and writing generally, it was his private press, the Brindabella Press, that won him acclaim as an Australian book arts practitioner from the 1970s until his death in 1996. Starting with one-page poems and pamphlets, he quickly moved on to hardback and then hand-bound titles, and sought always to print books that were both beautiful and meaningful. His editions of significant Australian writers such as Barbara Hanrahan, Les A. Murray and Kenneth Slessor are now scarce and sought after. However, despite these author’s importance at the heart of everything was the distinguished poet Rosemary Dobson, his wife, who first suggested he take up letterpress printing and who wrote three of the Press’s most beloved books.
Michael Richards’s book contains both a comprehensive bibliography of the Brindabella Press, as well as an account of a passionate Australian mainstream publisher and the hand-printed books he made for himself and his friends in the last decades of the twentieth century, keeping alive letterpress skills that were being swept away by constant changes in the printing industry.
A virtual presentation by Michael Richards, author, librarian, historian, bookseller, and book collector
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