(New Castle/London): Oak Knoll Press/The British Library, 2010,
First Edition. large octavo, dark green cloth in dust jacket. (viii), 144 pp. Oak Knoll Press/The British Library, New. Item #21420
This book is the first comprehensive (and long-overdue) bibliographic study of the London partnership of Field & Tuer and their publishing imprint, Leadenhall Press (later the Leadenhall Press, Ltd.). Matthew Young makes a convincing argument for Andrew W. Tuer (1838-1900) as one of the most imaginative and influential printers and publishers of the mid-to-late Victorian period. Known today primarily for old-style facsimile reprints and a few outstanding works such as Tuer's own History of the Horn-Book, the Leadenhall Press in fact published hundreds of titles in almost every subject area, from sixpenny pamphlets to vellum-bound limited editions dedicated by command to the Queen, as well as two important and long-running periodicals: The Paper & Printing Trades Journal and The Printers International Specimen Exchange. The remarkable range of the catalogue is evident in a small sample from 1885: Jerome K. Jerome's first book, On the Stage--and Off; Joseph Crawhall's hand-colored Izaak Walton: His Wallet Booke; The Owls of Olynn Belfry, illustrated by Randolph Caldecott; Sir Montague Shearman's Foot-Ball: Its History for Five Centuries; feminist Emily Jane Pfeiffer's Flying Leaves from East and West; and Songs of the North, illustrated by (among others) Edward Burne-Jones, Charles Keene, Albert Moore, Frederick Sandys, and J.M. Whistler. The book includes a revealing portrait of Andrew Tuer as a man of energy, curiosity, and wit: a successful businessman, inventor, advocate for fine printing, publisher, designer, collector, author, and correspondent. The annotated checklist describes nearly 450 publications issued by Field & Tuer and the Leadenhall Press from 1863 to 1913. Listing details include: month and year of publication, publisher's job number, listed price, brief description of format and cover design, important aspects of content and publication, and location of scarce and noteworthy copies. Appendices cover Andrew Tuer's writings, ephemera, series titles, and institutional collections of special interest. A color section and illustrations in the text complete the story of an important link in the development of printing between the Chiswick Press of Charles Whittingham II and the celebrated publishers of the 1890s. Very fine.