Vale Press (1896 - 1905)

The Vale Press was founded by Charles Ricketts with the financial aid of Llewellyn Hacon. The books were printed at the Ballantyne Press "where a handpress and pressman where reserved exclusively for Rickett's use under his own personal supervision," according to The Private Presses by Roderick Cave. Here are a few more excerpts about the Vale Press from the same book:

The Vale Press books ... were individually designed, with much closer attention given to each of the volumes [than the Kelmscott Press volumes] in a style that accorded with the needs of the individual text being printed, and with total control of all features of the books' design in Rickett's own hands.

...According to Sturge Moore, Morris on his deathbed was reduced to tears of admiration when shown the early Vale Press work.

Will Ransom, in his book Private Presses and Their Books, lists 46 Vale Press titles. When you consider that one of those 46 was a 39 volume Shakespeare's Works, it is apparent that the Vale Press did a lot of work in the ten years of its existence.


The Poems of Sir John Suckling edited by John Gray, 1896
Ransom #3

The Rowley Poems of Thomas Chatterton edited by R. Steele, 1898
Ransom #17

The Race of Leaves by Michael Field, 1901
Ransom #31

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam translated by Edward Fitzgerald, 1901
Ransom #32

Danae. A Poem by T. Sturge Moore, 1903
Ransom #43

Two Gentlemen of Verona by William Shakespeare, 1901
Ransom #44

Vale Press References

The Private Press by Roderick Cave, Published by R. R. Bowker Company, New York, 1983
A good overview of private presses in America, England, and Europe. This is my second favorite general reference for fine press books. Not as much depth as Susan Otis Thompson's book, but has a couple of great chapters on English presses (such as the Kelmscott, Vale, and Doves presses), and other chapters on presses in Europe. One Vale Press book is pictured (both the title page and a text spread showing the Vale type): A Defence of the Revival of Printing (1899).

Private Presses and Their Books, by Will Ransom, Published by R. R. Bowker Company, New York, 1929
This book is mainly a checklist of private presses and the books printed by those presses, but there are some interesting tidbits about the different presses. The Vale Press checklist lists 46 books.