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george orwell



Subscriptions for a new illustrated letterpress edition of George Orwell's masterpiece, Nineteen Eighty-Four, which plans to be the magnum opus from the Press to date, will open in mid-2021.


A prospectus will be printed and sent out in April 2021, when the necessary supply of paper is made and delivered from the Zerkall paper mill, following which subscriptions will open. 


The edition will be printed on white 120gsm Zerkall ohne-Silurian mould-made paper, printed across over 350 pages, measuring 350mm x 245mm (c.14 x 10 inches). In addition, there will be twenty-four sewn-in hand-made papers, on which the illustrations will be printed. 

The book will be hand-sewn and quarter bound in gray/ grey cloth, with original art repeat pattern paper-covered boards, housed in a solander box. 


The edition is limited to 60 individually numbered copies, with no possibility for more to be printed.

[Eight of these will be set aside for a special edition].



The text is set in 12D Lutetia, regarded as classic, restrained and beautiful. It is the most famous face designed by Jan van Krimpen, the influential calligrapher, book and type designer.

Bordering the text is The Principles of Newspeak, the fictional language of Big Brother, printed across eight repeated consecutive pages throughout the book. As "the leading articles in the Times were written in" Newspeak, this too is set in Times, 8-pt italic (a face conceived by Stanley Morison in 1931). This often neglected ending to the novel is here imposed upon the reader, albeit subtly by virtue of the text size. It is presented as both a footnote to the tale, as well as a constant reminder of the pervasiveness of language manipulation as a means to control.

An illustrative set of eyes is also present on every page-spread, a further form of invasion on the reader.


The main text will be primarily printed in black, with the bordering text in gray and the illustrative eyes in white-gray, both not to disturb the readability of the main text and also in keeping with the sombre atmosphere of the novel. It is intended that a further two colours will be used for part of the main text, to distinguish: the diary entries that the protaganist, Winston Smith, writes at various intervals during the novel; and the fictional book by Emmanuel Goldstein that features in large excerpts within the novel. In total, therefore, the book will require up to five colour runs for the text alone. 


The type will be dissed after printing and it will not be possible to print the edition again.


Whilst many books employ illustrations that can be easily rendered via alternative printing methods, or by mass production, this edition specifically seeks to include an illustrative form that can only be presented in the most limited of means, as each illustration is printed by letterpress, using wood and metal types and ornaments, and on hand-made paper.


There will be twenty-four sewn-in broadside posters, each printed one at a time by hand, on an Albion iron hand-press, limited in number. Each setting is then dismantled. The hand-made papers include those from a range of paper mills that are now no longer operating as well as those still making paper by hand.


These posters feature both representations of specific posters featured in the text of 1984, such as the very opening of the story, where the second paragraph starts:


The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats. At one end of it a coloured poster, too large for indoor display, had been tacked to the wall. It depicted an enormous face, more than a metre wide: the face of a man of about forty-five, with a heavy black moustache and ruggedly handsome features’;


whilst others are imagined settings or aspects of the text presented in illustrative form. 


In this manner, these illustrations immerse the reader into the story as real and tactile ephemera, inspired or from the events of the novel. In addition, as a result of the nature of the medium of letterpress, each poster in every copy is to an extent unique.



Details of the illustrators collaborating on this edition will be updated regularly and provided here.

Elizabeth F-S Elizabeth has painted a repeat pattern illustration that will be reproduced on the covers of the edition.


Joe Higgins Joe, who penned the face of Big Brother for this edition, is a freelance artist with a Masters in Illustration and Design, whose work can be seen in such genre titles as Creepzine, Gothic Garden, Bad Apples and more.


Jack Kitchen Jack has hand-drawn a page-spread depiction of Room 101 (the only two page illustration in the edition), and hand-painted 16 separate colour illustrations based on this illustration for the special edition (two for each copy). He is a freelance artist with a BA in Fine Art and a Masters in Printmaking from Camberwell. 


and others.

A work-in-progress example of one of the illustrated pages, featuring an illustration penned by Joe Higgins, a linocut printed background, and hand-set wood type, the whole printed across three colour runs on an Albion iron hand-press.


A list of the twenty-four hand-made papers that will be used for the illustrations will be updated regularly and detailed here.

Barcham Green There are currently three hand-made laid papers in this edition made at Barcham Green's Hayle Mill, in Maidstone (Kent), purchased by the family in 1810. The Mill's output greatly reduced in the 1970's, eventually closing closing formally in 1987.


1) [Details of the watermarks and dates will follow]. F J H watermark for F. J. Head, a dealer in artists' papers from 1910 until 1917. 

2) [Details of the watermarks and dates will follow].

3) [Details of the watermarks and dates will follow].

Batchelors Joseph Batchelor & Sons produced paper from the Ford Mill in the village of Little Chart (Kent), from 1877. Best known for making the paper used by William Morris at the Kelmscott Press, the Mill was sold and closed in the early 1940's. 

Paper Foundation The edition includes hand-made cotton laid paper, named 'Rue', made this year by Paper Foundation, in Burneside. The St James Park Press used the very first paper ever made at this Mill for its King Arthur last year, and continues to support the Mill.


Two Rivers The edition includes hand-made rag paper made this year by Two Rivers Paper in Somerset at their Pitt Mill, which has been in existence for over 400 years. 


Wookey Hole The Wookey Hole Mill in Somerset traces its origins in paper-making to the early eighteenth century, continuing until 1972 when it was closed. 

and more.



The pre-subscription price per copy, payable in instalments which can be set by agreement on confirmation of subscription, is £2,284, with an initial deposit of £300 required to pre-order, and thereafter generous flexible payment plans offered for up to the date of publication for the balance of £1,984 plus p&p.


Once the pre-subscription period ends, the price per copy will be £3,500 plus p&p.



Eight copies of the limitation size will constitute a Special Edition, which will be offered as an upgrade to the main edition to all those who have pre-ordered, offered in the order in which they first subscribed to the edition. Early notification of this and the price will be given and further flexible payment plans offered for the increased cost.

The details for the Special Edition will be announced, but intended features include a special leather binding designed and completed by Roger Grech, accompanied by:


(a) a boxed portfolio of the twenty-four illustrations, loosely housed, the box bound with the specially printed cover paper used for the standard edition, along with a title-page leaf printed on real calfskin vellum, and a colophon printed on paper specially made by the Press featuring the Press's watermark;


(b) a bound volume entitled, 'The Illustrations of the St James Park Press edition of Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four', with hand-painted illustrated end-papers unique to each copy following the theme for the "Room 101" double-page illustration that features in the edition;

(c) a bound-folder housing a specimen page-spread of the edition, printed on genuine sheepskin parchment;

all housed in a hand-made solander box.



The edition is expected to be released around December 2021 and will hopefully be the definitive letterpress edition of this influential text for the foreseeable future.


Demand is expected to be high, so early subscription is advised.

[All details given above are subject to change and queries are welcomed on this.

Images shown here are currently work in progress only.]