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The Rampant Lions Press: A Letterpress Odyssey

Inspired by the venerable tradition of private presses in England, the Rampant Lions Press was a small publisher of fine editions and a designer-printer for other publishers. With very few exceptions, they designed every book that came out of the workshop. They printed all books by letterpress, mostly on hand or mould-made papers. They specialised in elegant, but colourful typography, and made inventive use of a small repertoire of exceptional metal typefaces, including several designed by Hermann Zapf and the Golden Cockerel Roman designed by Eric Gill. The broad scope of their activities led to collaborations with numerous writers and artists, including Michael Ayrton, Anthony Gross, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, David Jones, John Piper, Patrick Procktor, and Michael Rothenstein.

Will Carter founded the Rampant Lions Press in 1924, at the age of twelve. He moved to Cambridge in 1934, published the first book in 1936, and turned the Press into a full time business in 1948. His son Sebastian joined him in the 1960s and closed the Press in 2008.

The work of the Rampant Lions Press was the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum in 1982. This exhibition displays a selection of their books produced since then. Sebastian Carter’s The Rampant Lions Press: A Narrative Catalogue (Oak Knoll Press, 2014) tells the full story.

Tue 18 March 2014 to Sun 18 May 2014
Octagon Gallery (10)

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