(1895 - 1935)
“a certain gaiety of treatment in the use of coloured initials and chapter-headings”

Founded in the 1895 by Sir C.H. St. John Hornby, a partner in W.H. Smith & Sons, the Ashendene Press became a leader, along with the Kelmscott and Doves Presses, in the 19th century revival of fine English printing.  Starting at his father’s house in Ashendene, Herts, Hornby printed the first few books of the Press for the joy of it, mostly as gifts to friends and family, including the order of service for his son’s wedding, Christmas cards and programs for private theatrical productions.  Later publications were often substantial and beautiful productions, reworking the classics of literature, history and the bible.  What makes Ashnedene publications so distinctive is their use of Subiaco and. Ptolemy type, as well as the colour initials, original woodcut illustrations and, in the case of Thucydides, marginal notes in colour.  Additionally, many Ashendene books have elaborately tooled leather bindings, usually created by the master craftsman Douglas Cockerell, who ran the fine-bidning department at Smiths.

Ashendene issued 40 books in the years from 1895 to 1915 and from 1920 to 1935, all of which were set by hand.  No expense was spared in their production - the quality of the materials and workmanship, combined with the extremely short print runs, made them highly desirable when originally published and highly collectable today.

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Books by this author

The Wisdom of Jesus, the Son of Sirach, Commonly Called Ecclesiasticus