Josna Rege

311. The Hogarth Press

In blogs and blogging, Books, Britain, Media, people, reading, Stories, women & gender, writing on April 9, 2015 at 11:48 pm


wolf_logo-1Founded jointly in 1917 by Virginia and Leonard Woolf, the Hogarth Press (named after the house in Richmond where they were living at the time) began as a home-based therapeutic hobby, therapeutic because when Virginia was recovering from the periodic bouts of illness she needed something to calm and occupy her mind, but not something that would cause stress and strain. The couple hand-set their type and, self-taught, hand-printed it on a platen press set up in their dining room. The published their own writing and that of their illustrious friends, with Virginia’s sister Vanessa often doing the artwork for the dust-jackets.

Between the World Wars, Hogarth Press grew from a hobby into a business and they began to useill2 commercial printers. They published many of Virginia’s most important works, including Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse. Virginia’s essay, On Being Ill (1930), was one of the last books they hand-printed.

dallo2Sadly, Virginia Woolf ended her own life in 1941,  as she felt yet another bout of illness coming on. But in the 24 years since she and Leonard had founded the Hogarth Press, they had been able to publish almost 475 works, many of them their own.

That was some therapy!

Postscript: In 1938 Virginia Woolf relinquished her interest in the business. It was run as a partnership by Leonard Woolf and John Lehmann until 1946, when it became an associate company of Chatto & Windus. “Hogarth” is now an imprint of The Crown Publishing Group, part of Random House Inc., which acquired Chatto and Windus in 1987.


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Chronological Table of Contents

atoz [2015] - BANNER - 910

  1. I didn’t know that. I am enjoying your series on printing, even if I don’t always comment. 🙂

  2. They are not at all too dry! I found this one full of information I hadn’t known. Maybe it’s because I’m a printmaker and my uncle used to have a printing press. No letter presses involved though.

  3. Actually this is fascinating history even with no background in the printing industry!
    Sorry to be so late, but now that I have the time to read them, I am enjoying each one.
    Thank you, professor!

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