Our History  



As far as I can remember, I started printing in 2002, after various years worrking on a catalogue on Manuel Altolaguirre, the great poet and printer of the Spanish Generación del 27. In Spain there is really no tradition of private presses, though Spain has known some great, fine printers - the Crombergers in Seville in the 16th century, the great renovation of Spanish printing at the end of the 18th century, with Joaquín Ibarra and Sancha in Madrid, or Benito Cano in Valencia, the work of Silverio Aguirre in the first half of the 20th century. And we should also mention the various collections published by Alberto Jiménez Fraud, with the help of Juan Ramón Jiménez, in the twenties and thirties, small, inexpensive books, but beautifully produced. Another remarkable book producer of the twenties was Gabriel García Maroto, who often used his own xilographic designs to illustrate the books from his press.

But the great master of twentieth Spanish printing is Manuel Altolaguirre, born in Málaga in 1905. From the first edition of Litoral, when he was in his early twenties, through the books and plaquettes he printed in Paris, London and Madrid during the Second Republic, the war editions that were put together in a barn a few mile from the front, and the collections of poetry he published in the early years of his exile in Cuba and Mexico; all of Altolaguirre’s books are immediately recognizable, with a cleanliness of design, uncluttered and unhurried, showing that the real beauty of fine printing lies in the simplicity and elegance of the composition.

After handling a number of these books, I really needed to see if I was capable of producing something along the same lines. By luck – or is there some other agency that covers these matters? – it was precisely around this time that a number of traditional Santander printers were closing down or modernizing their businesses, so I was able to find a beautiful hand operated Boston, from around 1900, another larger press, probably dating from the twenties, three cabinets of selected type – mainly Ibarra from 6 to 48 point (and in various states of conservation), a good quantity of large wooden type, lots of engraved blocks, composing sticks and assorted furniture.
For our first publication I had the extremely good fortune to meet Maribel Fernández Garrido, a young and wonderfully promising Santander poet, who, amazingly, was prepared to place her latest collection of poems in the hands of a very obviously inexpert printer. And we discovered, not many miles from our village of Lloreda, in Muriedas de Camargo, a small paper mill where they were making a remarkable variety of crafted paper from any number of prime materials. And they even had a small bindery.

And after this first attempt at hand printing, we have gone on to produce other books by young poets, some at the very beginning of their trajectory, some already well established and others long dead. And it is our intention to print on.