Private Press VII: Fortune Press

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Fortune Press was founded in 1924 in London by Reginald Ashley Caton (1897-1971). Its publications originally aped those of the other private presses of the day that Caton particularly admired, such as those of the Nonesuch Press. Our copy of his 1927 Cupid and Psyches is one such example. It draws on William Adlington’s 1566 translation of Apuleius’ 2nd century novel Metamorphoses (often known by its English title The Golden Ass). The borders were originally designed by Geoffroy Tory, a French humanist and engraver, around 1524. Our copy is number 39 of 700 and is bound in plain cream vellum with gold-tooled letters to the spine.

Threatened with copyright infringement for these slavish homages, Caton subsequently altered the focus of the  press and soon gained a reputation for the publication of gay erotica. In 1934 he was sued under the Obscene Publications Act, and ordered to pulp most of his remaining stock.

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