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IM on Columbian

Ian Mor­timer print­ing on the Columbian press

I. M. Imprimit is the pri­vate Press of artist Ian Mor­timer. It was set up in 1969 with a sin­gle Albion hand press specif­i­cally to print the wood-cuts and wood-engravings of its founder. Type soon fol­lowed to extend the print­mak­ing work­shop to include typog­ra­phy and let­ter­press print­ing. At a time when trade let­ter­press print­ing was fast giv­ing way to off­set litho and, later, to the com­puter, it was pos­si­ble to build up a large range of foundry types, includ­ing many rare and unique type­faces, and the Press has what is prob­a­bly the largest col­lec­tion of wood poster types in the country.

The nineteenth-century iron hand-press with its unequalled ver­sa­til­ity has remained the sta­ple tool of pro­duc­tion, enabling the Press to carry out work which nei­ther power-driven machine nor com­puter could under­take (see The Hand Press, Artists’ Edi­tions, Fine Edi­tions). With the present range of six Albion presses and a large Columbian in use, I. M. Imprimit is arguably unique as a craft let­ter­press workshop.

In 1995 Ian Mor­timer was awarded the cov­eted prize, the Pre­mio Felice Feli­ciano, for the design and pro­duc­tion of the Press’ pub­li­ca­tion Orna­mented Types. In 1996 Mor­timer was appointed OBE for Ser­vices to Fine Printing.

The press-mark, a wood-engraving by Ian Mor­timer, fol­lows a time-honoured tra­di­tion of early print­ers’ marks using a rebus based on the printer’s name. In his case the image is inevitable: mort (death) and mer (sea). Because of its som­bre nature, how­ever, it has rarely been used in the Press’ productions.

This web­site is in two main areas. Print­ing and Typog­ra­phy is divided into six sec­tions show­ing the vari­ety of I. M. Imprimit’s activ­i­ties: artists’ prints, fine edi­tions, posters, cards and other ephemera. Ian Mor­timer, artist shows Ian Mortimer’s own work, rarely exhib­ited: it includes draw­ings and paint­ings, and some the black-and-white side-grain wood­cuts that led directly to the found­ing of his Press.

 

Images © Ian Mortimer