Founded in 1863 by the Reverend Curwen, this iconic little fine press was first purposed to print sheet music for the time, and it is perhaps because of this unusual approach to print and design that later made it the pioneer of British modern design.
After Curwen Press split from the Curwen Company, it started diversifying its portfolio, specializing in typographic excellence, posters, prints and small books. It soon became a pioneer of type design and use, becoming the example of the iconic nouveau-modernist style of the early 1920's onward.
Sadly, commercial success was ever unattainable to its small outfit, and although highly regarded they never had the resources to make an impact that their design deserved. To this day the Curwen Press is perhaps most collectible as regards the history of type design and development of the typographic arts in the British Isles. Especially useful are the guides and catalogs the Press produced every year detailing the fonts and design principles that they were currently favoring.
If your personal collection features the history of printing, typography or the modernist art and design movement, then there is never a better time to collect Curwen Press titles, as still the vast majority are quite inexpensive. Whilenot completely unique, they highlight a very important phase in the art and design movement, where it intersects with printing in the modern era.
Carlyle, Thomas. Sartor Resartus, Limited Editions Club. Curwen Press (1931). 1500 copies printed for the Limited Editions Club
Borrow, George. Lavengro. Curwen Press (1936). 2 vols; 1500 copies
Dumas , Alexandre. Camille. Curwen Press (1937). 1500 copies
Sheridan, Richard Brinsley. The Rivals, the Limited Editions Club. Curwen Press (1953). 1500 copies with original copper etchings by Rene ben Sussan
Sassoon, Siegfried. Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man. Curwen Press (1977). 1600 copies with 8 lithographs by Paul Hogarth; Limited Editions Club