Private Press VI: Roycroft Press

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Roycroft (meaning ‘King’s craft’) was a reformist community of craft workers and artists in the USA which drew inspiration from the Arts and Crafts movement in England. Elbert Hubbard founded the community in 1895 in the village of East Aurora, Erie County, New York, near Buffalo. He had been influenced by the ideas of William Morris on a visit to England, and members in the community became to be known as Roycrofters. Roycrofters participated in many crafts, but were noted for their skills in fine printing and bookbinding. Today their volumes are highly sought as supreme examples of the Private Press movement.

Our example of Roycroft work was published in 1904. Compensation by Ralph Waldo Emerson features a beautiful decorative three-colour title page, with further historiated initials and borders within. The Roycroft printers’ device is also shown on the title page. It is number 45 of 100 copies printed on Japanese vellum and is signed by Hubbard. The marbled paper cover is half-bound in brown leather with plain gold-tooled borders. The five spine bands feature gold-tooled floral motifs.

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