In 1891 William Morris founded Kelmscott Press, which he referred to as his “small typographic adventure”.
Even though there were similar examples of books produced previously, whenever it’s necessary to point out an initial mark of the Private Press movement, the publication “The Story of the Glittering Plain” is chosen, written by Morris himself and the first title published by Kelmscott Press with the aim of recovering the beauty of the book, lost amidst the increasingly rushed and careless runs of the regular press of industrial England.
All components of a book – from the choice of text and fonts to the composition of the types, paper, ink, “decoration” and binding – should be planned and executed manually with the utmost care and excellence to together produce the “ideal book”.
Among the period’s numerous Private Presses, certainly one of the most important – and idiosyncratic – was Doves Press, founded by Morris’ typographic advisor Emery Walker and the avid bookbinder Thomas James Cobden-Sanderson. Between the years of 1900 and 1916, Doves press not only produced some of the most beautiful books of the time, but also staged one of the most folkloric harangues in the history of typography: the dispute for Doves’ types.
The history of the Private Press movement and the Doves Press is told in the book “Nove Meses”, published in 2018 by Lote 42.