Detail map of London, England, United Kingdom Overview map of London, England, United Kingdom

A: London, England, United Kingdom

Letterpress Printers of London Issue a Broadside with 26,000 Movable Pieces of Hand-Set Ornaments

Broadside issued by the Letterpress Printers of London
Creative Commons LicenseJeremy Norman Collection of Images - Creative Commons

In 1820, to honor Caroline, Queen Consort, the letter-press printers of London and environs issued a large folio tribute broadside the typographic decoration of which required about 26,000 individual pieces of very small hand-set printer's ornaments to create. This must be one of the most elaborate examples of hand typesetting ever created and printed.

Remarkably there are two versions of this broadside. The first, in my collection and illustrated here, contains the printers' address printed in a single column. Its heading reads, "To Her Most Gracious Majesty, Caroline, Queen Consort of Great Britain." The second, held by the British Museum, is printed in two columns within the same elaborate border, with a different text, and a sale price of one shilling. The heading of the British Museum version reads "The Printers' Address to the Queen, and Her Majesty's Tribute to the Press in Answer." Mine was issued by John Johnson Printer, Apollo Press, Brook Street, Holborn. At the foot of both versions of the broadside is an image of the Stanhope Press undoubtedly used to print the broadside. In the British Museum version there is a poem under the image of the press, which is not present in my version.

Timeline Themes