Instigated by a series of conversations between printer Russell Maret and paper scholar and MacArthur Foundation Fellow Tim Barrett, this unusual fine press book was created to test the durability of paper handmade by Barrett and his students at the University of Iowa Center for the Book. Based on his research into papermaking methods in Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries, Barrett and his students have been attempting to replicate the durable, aesthetically-pleasing paper of the pre-industrial era. In order to test the paper under heavy daily use, Maret conceived of the idea of a cookbook and gathered recipes from various book artists, scholars, and collectors.  Contributors include, among many others, the book artists Carolee Campbell, David Esselmont, Peter Koch, Nancy Loeber, Robert McCamant, Harry Reese, and Gaylord Shanilac.  Each contributors received a copy of the book, but with it came an obligation to try out and report on each of the recipes.

In a departure from modern methods of printing, Maret printed this book on Barrett’s unsized paper and afterwards, with Barrett’s assistance, sized the printed sheets in a bath of gelatin. Barrett’s research has suggested that in previous eras books were sized after printing, lending them increased durability. An extra printed leaf that was left unsized is tipped in to the inside of the back cover for comparison with the rest of the textblock.

Both typefaces used in this volume were designed by Maret. The type used for the text is based on a Canon roman and italic cut by Peter de Walpergen aprior to 1686. The type used for titling is based on letters cut by J. F. Rosart in the 1700s.  The book is bound in heavyweight paper handmade at the University of Iowa Center for the Book by Tim Barrett and his students. The cover is printed with a decorative pattern. The long-stitch binding is inspired by historical specimens and was designed by Morgan Library conservator Maria Fredericks.

This copy is number 42 out of an edition of 75 and is signed and numbered by the artist. A copy of the prospectus for this publication is included.

 

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