Thursday 26 January 2023

The Britannia Press

The relief press in our studio is a Britannia, made by B. Porter of Leeds. These were manufactured between 1837 and 1847.

The printing museum at Howard Ironworks reports that only ten of these presses may have survived; they have an impressively restored Britannia, which probably dates back to its first year of production. There is another at The Museum of Printing Arts in Leipzig. According to The Science Museum, which also has one of the presses in its collection, Porter had premises at Cross Court, 96 Briggate, Leeds.

I often wonder how many artists over the last couple of centuries have used our press. There's a suggestion it made its way to the Slade School of Art in London and later returned to Yorkshire at Harrogate College. It was owned by printmaker, Virginia Bridge, for many years before ending up in our studio.

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Out of my head

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