Melton prior Institut


Linton- Life in the Collections

Will Ransom:

17) Private Presses and their Books.

New York 1929

This first edition was limited to 1200 copies and printed by the Lakeside Press.

The voluminous account, compiled by the American book designer and typographer Will Ransom, consists mainly of the catalogues of the various English and American presses and short biographies of their owners. The European tradition is ignored throughout. The pioneering history includes an entry on Linton’s production, but whereas Ransom’s successor Roderick Cave in his 1983 publication The Private Press also considers Linton’s early Brantwood productions, Ransom conveys a rather distorted picture of Linton’s relevance by taking into account only his American issues. In addition to that, his catalogue of the Appledore Press can only be viewed as rudimental. It consists of nine objects, and the chronological dates he provides are accordingly very indefinite. Whereas the historical survey takes peripheral and whimsical productions such as Benjamin Franklin´’ Passy issues in consideration, Ransom manages to ignore William Blake’s groundbreaking corpus of illuminated books completely. But nevertheless, this unreliable account became a very influential classic and played a decisive part in the canonization of the Morris Press genealogy and also in the marginalization of Linton’s editorial merits. An evaluation of the Kelmscott press against the background of the achievements of the Blake and Linton presses would of course have been quite a different one, in aesthetical as well as in intellectual respects.