The Art of Letterpress

Image of man and woman in a 17th century room looking at letterpress work


The Art of Letterpress - 6 week course

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  Tuesdays, 5 October –16 November 2021

  5.30 – 8pm

 Schola Musicae, Old Bodleian Library

 £200 (concessions £180), places limited

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Discover the craft of letterpress printing

The foundation of an information revolution following the inventions of Gutenberg in the 1450s, this centuries-old technique continues to thrive today as a living art and as a fascinating connection with the treasures of the Bodleian Library. 

Over the course of six weeks in practical hands-on sessions, you will be introduced to the materials and skills used in letterpress printing and guided to create your own work. The class provides you with the basic skills to design and plan further letterpress projects. The course tutor will tailor to each person's interest and ability.

Based in the Bodleian's letterpress workshop, you will learn the art of hand composition with wood and metal type and will examine the techniques of printed illustrations. The workshop includes an orientation to a range of hand-operated presses in the workshop, including Albion and Columbian platen presses, a 'Western' (Vandercook-style) proofing press, and a star-wheel etching press. 

Course tutor Richard Lawrence is a letterpress printer with over 30 years' experience who also teaches the history of printing and supervises the historical presses in the Bodleian's Bibliographical Press. 

Learn more about printing and book arts activities at the Bodleian Libraries Bibliographical Press 

Age 18 and over. All materials are provided, no previous experience necessary.

Classes take place on Tuesdays 5.30-8pm on the following dates for 2021: 5 Oct, 12 Oct, 19 Oct, 2 Nov, 9 Nov, 16 Nov.


Schola Musicae, Old Bodleian Library, Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BG

The class will meet in the printing workshop, Schola Musicae, Bodleian Library. The room is accessible via a ground-floor entrance. Please report to the Bodleian Library Great Gate, accessed from Catte Street, upon arrival.

 Wheelchair access

The Schola Musicae is wheelchair accessible.


£200 (concession tickets available for students, Friends of the Bodleian £180)


Richard Lawrence

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