Volume 9 - Spring 2000


The Curwen Studio


When we at Hewits embarked on the development of our new range of Victorian Bible Papers, we assumed that the application of an opaque and rectangular section of ink to some plain paper would be a task that was relatively simple to achieve. However, it did not take us long to discover that this assumption was far from the truth. The specification and quality we were insisting upon was so demanding, it soon became apparent that it would take a very special and exceptional printer who would be able to accept our commission. We were therefore extremely lucky to come across The Curwen Studio who agreed to publish our new papers.

The Curwen Studio is a unique organisation in fine art printing for artists and enjoys an outstanding international reputation.

The original policy of the Curwen Studio still exists today, offering a special creative service for artists and publishers. The keys to their success are the working relationship with the artist, their open approach to each project, the knowledge of their technical staff and the high quality of their presses, papers and inks.

They also aim to be forward thinking and innovating, building on and at the same time respecting the studio's rich and distinguished history.

They offer two main printing techniques, lithography and screen and have technicians in both to make the personal link between the artist and their work of art. Working in this way the artist has overall creative control at all stages from the colour separations, to a complete proof and the finished print.

Each print is an individual hand made impression and of a limited edition, each signed and numbered by the artist.

Both mediums of printing offer an enormous range of texture and tone and with new technologies and materials, virtually no complex or textural effect is unattainable.

Curwen Studios can be contacted at: Tel: +44 (0) 1223 893544 Fax: +44 (0) 1223 893638

Curwen's History

  • 1863 - The Reverend John Curwen establishes the Curwen Press in Plaistow.
  • 1908 - His grandson Harold joins soon after the introduction of lithography and invites artists participation in print.
  • 1911 - Harold becomes a director and starts the fundamental reorganisation leading to the revolution in the firms output and range.
  • 1920 - Oliver Simon (later to become a renowned book designer) joins the press, shortly followed by his brother Herbert.
  • 1924 - Oliver had contact with the Royal College of Art which led to commissions for young artists, including Paul Nash, Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious.
  • 1939 - In spite of serious problems during World War II the press remained active, producing publications for Free France, the Belgium Government in exile and the literary magazine Horizon.
  • 1958 - Due to the emergence of the artists original prints Timothy and Robert Simon (sons of Oliver and Herbert) set up a studio for artists under the management of Stanley Jones, where they developed prints with exciting new qualities. There followed a period where artists including Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Graham Sutherland, Elizabeth Frink, Alan Davie, Josef Herman and John Piper produced many important lithographs.
  • 1977 - The Tate Gallery form an archive of contemporary prints and the Curwen Press and Studio's important contribution is duly recognised in an exhibition "Artists at Curwen".
  • 1989 - The Curwen Studio moves to a more spacious location at Chilford Hall (a country estate and vineyard) in Cambridgeshire, where advantage is taken to include screen printing alongside lithography.

Skin Deep - Volume 9 - Spring 2000

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