Starting over – part 2

May 13th, 2016 | By Ian and Dominique Metcalfe | Category: Bibles Direct Latest

In a previous blog post (‘Starting over’, Jan 16 – see link at right) I talked a bit about the changes we’ve been preparing with the 53 Longprimer for this year’s binding of what is surely the flagship Allan range – changes that take the Longprimer back to its roots.

Not to repeat myself, then, for 2016 we have reverted to a vintage copy of the classic Longprimer, printed in the period 1952-1958 under Charles Batey, then Printer to the University of Oxford, which has given us a page image that is much closer to the original intentions of the typesetters. Despite its early date, the vagaries of metal type meant that even in this copy some pages showed some variations, and in such cases we weighed this copy’s page impression against a slightly later (1960s) copy printed under Vivian Ridler, and considered the benefits of substitution.

All told, this new-old page image retains the large, clear type of the Longprimer we all know and love, but has a crisper letter form and less of the broken type marks out much-used letterpress typesettings and particularly the ‘middle-aged spread’ that arises from them being subsequently transferred to film – and only more recently to digital scans.

In order to maximise the clarity of the page impression, we also increased the paper weight to 36gsm (previously 32gsm) using the best quality PrimaBible Bible paper, a coated semi-writeable paper with high opacity yet with minimal impact on the spine width. This paper is only produced to special order at this weight but is rapidly becoming the paper of choice for top quality Bible printing – and indeed, at the even heavier weight of 45gsm has produced the most amazing printing results for our upcoming Brevier Clarendon Wide Margin.

As our signature 53 Longprimer has been off the market for a year or so now it may be worth highlighting some of the key features of this Allan flagship Bible. The 53 is available in Black, Brown, Navy Blue or Crimson Red Highland goatskin with full yapp and red under gold page edges (blue under gold for the navy blue), leather-lined in dark blue (or brown for the Brown, red for the Red) with double gilt lines inside, three ribbon markers, Allan presentation pages and family record in new improved design, dictionary of proper names, subject index, concordance, 32 pages of lined writing paper – now on 60gsm white paper with 5mm navy blue feint rule – and 16 pages of Oxford Bible maps with index.

After a long wait these Bibles are nearly ready to go out to their new homes, and we are excited to see the response!

53 Longprimer close-up

53 Longprimer spread


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