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Dates of existence
Barbarian Press was established in 1977 in Kent, England, where the Elsteds worked with Graham Williams at the Florin Press. Having acquired three flatbed hand presses – an 1850 super royal Hopkinson & Cope Albion, an 1833 foolscap folio Barrett bench Albion, and an 1854 foolscap folio Sherwin & Cope Imperial – together with many cases of type, they returned to their native Canada in 1978 and set up shop in Mission, British Columbia, about 50 miles east of Vancouver in the Fraser Valley, where they remain. To the English hand presses they have added Vandercook Universal I and Universal III proofing presses, two Chandler & Price vertical platen presses, much more type, and a small hand bindery.
The press’s publications range from new English translations of poetry and prose from various languages and new poetry in English to bibliography, illustrated classics, typography, and books on wood engraving. This last has become a particular speciality since the publication in 1995 of Endgrain: Contemporary Wood Engraving in North America, which was greeted with considerable acclaim, and is now widely sought after. This has spawned an ongoing series of books called Endgrain Editions, each showing selected work of a single engraver, printed from the original blocks, with an introduction and a catalogue of major works. The first of these, on Canadian engraver Gerard Brender à Brandis, appeared in 2000; the fourth volume, on Simon Brett, was published in 2014, and further volumes are planned.