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David Esslemont at SFPL

For Immediate Release:                                          Contact: Marcia Schneider
October 24, 2000                                                                     415.557.4252

                                        DAVID ESSLEMONT

San Francisco--Noted book artist David Esslemont will present a slide
lecture at the San Francisco Public Library on Wednesday, November 15,
starting at 6:30 p.m. Esslemont, an artist, designer, printer, bookbinder
and publisher, is a graduate of the Central School of Art and Design in
London where he studied painting. Among his tutors were the artist Blair
Hughes-Stanton with whom he studied relief printmaking.
        In 1978, while working as an artist and printmaker (linoleum cuts,
woodcuts and wood engravings), and painting landscapes in oils and
watercolors, Esslemont established his own private press in his home town
of Newcastle upon Tyne in the north of England. Here he published the first
of several books with wood engravings by the eighteenth century wood
engraver Thomas Bewick and his apprentices. These books were printed by
hand on dampened paper on a Columbian handpress and published in limited
editions. From the outset Esslemont has bound his books himself and most
were issued in leather bindings: full leather, quarter leather and designed
fine bindings, often with gold tooling.
        From 1985 to 1997 David Esslemont was Director of the Gregynog Press in
Wales. At Gregynog he designed and printed several prize-winning books
including Giraldus Cambrensis: Itinerary Through Wales, for which he won
the first Felice Feliciano Award for Book Design in 1991. He commissioned
artists to illustrate the books and many, such as Wrenching Times, a
selection of Walt Whitman's poems with color wood engravings by Gaylord
Schanilec have become highly sought-after collector's items.
        As a designer Esslemont has worked on a variety of projects from a book
stamp for the Bodleian Library to a whole new visual identity for the
University of Wales, Swansea, including design guidelines and their
application to signage and marketing. Many smaller commissions such as
bookplates have been undertaken for private individuals, as well as the
design of stationery and logos for associations and small businesses.
Digital typesetting and design projects have included books for the
Previous Parrot Press and journals for the Fine Press Book Association.
        In 1997 Esslemont returned to working on a freelance basis from his home
in rural mid Wales. Living in a Victorian farmhouse on the banks of the
river Severn with an old coach house and stable converted to workshops
provides ample space for the various activities. A 100-year-old year
Wharfedale printing press was installed last year. The first job on the new
press was The Fall of Xenophon, after which work began on a major new book:
The Wood Engravings of David Gentleman.
        David Esslemont will present his slide lecture in the Koret Auditorium,
Lower Level, San Francisco Public Library, Civic Center, on Wednesday,
November 15, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.

The public is invited to this free event co-sponsored by the Marjorie G.
and Carl W. Stern Book Arts and Special Collections Center of the San
Francisco Public Library and The Book Club of California. The Center is
home to the Robert Grabhorn Collection on the History of Printing and the
Development of the Book, the Richard Harrison Collection of Calligraphy and
Lettering, and the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit and Humor. For viewing
hours and further information, please contact the Book Arts & Special
Collections Center at 415.557.4560.

                                                # # #

(Mr.) Asa Peavy, Program Manager
Book Arts & Special Collections Center
San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin St., San Francisco, CA 94102
415.557.4560; Fax: 415.437.4849
Website:  http://sfpl.org

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