Welcome to Jacob Quinlan Books, ABAC | ILAB.

We sell, buy, and evaluate rare books, and specialize in Fine and Private Press.

The tradition of private printing is nothing new. The movement commonly referred to as the ‘revival of printing’ was initiated in the latter half of the 19th Century, and flourished in the early 20th Century. The books produced within this movement were set and printed by hand, with hand cast type impressed on hand-made paper, and they were bound by hand. It was a labour of hands, and the intellects guiding them, rejecting the uniformity and mechanization of mass production. Much like the Pre-Raphaelites’ rejection of Academic painting, and their return instead to the Quattrocento, the revivers of printing looked back to the typefaces and designs of the Renaissance, and sought to incorporate its sensibility into a present whose taste, they felt, had lost vitality.

Private Press books were, and remain, diverse and deeply personal; but whether spurred by socialist ideals, aestheticism, religious fervour verging on fanaticism, or simply a love of handicraft, they were all made to be beautiful.

A strict definition of what constitutes a ‘private press’ remains elusive. Though the ‘revival’ belongs to the past, the tradition continues to thrive today. The métier of private printing is perhaps best captured by Colin Franklin: “the joy of a Private Press is indifference to public demand”.