Monday, 29 April 2013

Caxton Press exhibition

Caxton Press is one of New Zealand's most influential presses. Its origins are with the Caxton Club Press which was run by Canterbury College students. The Caxton Club started eighty years ago in the basement of the University Clock Tower on the campus of Canterbury College, Christchurch.

During the first half of the 20th century, the press was well known for championing New Zealand's new literary talents. For example, the press was the first to print  the works of Janet Frame, Allen Curnow, Charles Brasch and Ursula Bethell in book form. It's adherence to the design and typographic principles of Eric Gill and Stanley Morison is also a distinguishing feature of the press.

The Caxton Press created what became 'Landfall', a very important New Zealand literary journal. Under the direction of Leo Bensemann, the press also produced finely-printed editions of works by Milton, Coleridge, Wilde and others.

Ref: AWNS-19131127-55-1, printing press, Sir George Grey Special Collections
An exhibition on the Caxton Press opened on the 5 April and runs until 30 June at the Reed Gallery, Dunedin City Library (3rd floor). Included in the exhibition, is a copy of the student literary journal Oriflamme. Printed in April 1933 this journal was the first Caxton Club Press publication and was promptly banned by the Canterbury College Council. The exhibition offers a range of first and fine editions, pamphlets, type specimen books, journal issues, book lists, and skilfully designed and illustrated works by Bensemann.

Auckland Libraries has a number of heritage resources about or by the Caxton Press, which can be viewed through the library catalogue.

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