The Bodleian Bibliographical Press

Welcome to creative book arts in the library

The Bodleian Bibliographical Press is a living workshop for teaching and experiment inside the Bodleian Library. The workshop offers sessions in learning through making books, using technology from the 15th to the 21st centuries. Sessions take place in the Weston Library for Special Collections and in the letterpress workshop, located in the Old Bodleian Library. To visit, e-mail
Blogposts about material and events at the Bibliographical Press

Oxfordshire ArtWeeks 2024

For ArtWeeks 2024, the Bodleian Bibliographical Press is displaying items made in this studio over the past year, by artist-participants in several workshops, courses and projects.

Dante: printmaker Wuon-Gean Ho worked with Professor Simon Gilson and Dr Rebecca Bowen, creating an artistic response to early printed editions of Dante’s Divine Comedy held in the Taylor Institution Library on St Giles, for the research project Envisioning Dante

Make a Book: books on display were made at the 8-week public course, ‘Make a Book,’ taught by Rosie Fairfax-Cholmeley and Robin Wilson (Wytham Studio). Wytham Studio have ArtWeeks openings elsewhere in Oxford; see the Oxfordshire ArtWeeks guide.

Hidden Spire: poetry posters were printed in risograph (for the backgrounds) and type by members of the Hidden Spire Collective in a writing project led by poet Rawz, for a project with the Old Fire Station.

Newly-made printing blocks from a 17th-century ballad in the Bodleian Libraries, 4o Rawl. 566(121), showing a man and woman with hats
Newly-made printing blocks, copied from a 17th-century ballad in the Bodleian Libraries, 4o Rawl. 566(121)
People using a hand-operated, cast iron printing press
The letterpress workshop in the Old Bodleian Library


Oxfordshire ArtWeeks — workshop open 12-4, Saturday 11 May and Sunday 12 May

Letterpress and linocut courses begin in October — see Bodleian Events listings


Map showing the location of the Bibliographical Press in the Old Bodleian Library quadrangle
Download a map showing the location of the Bibliographical Press

How to participate

Arrange a bespoke session for a course or group, or see the scheduled workshops and courses listed on the Bodleian Events pages.

For everyone:
Courses open to the public

For universities:
To arrange a demonstration or workshop session, usually for up to 12 students, write to: Costs may apply. Workshop sessions for a course or class can be booked during any of the opening hours of the Old Bodleian Library
Monday – Friday: 9am – 9pm
Saturday: 10am – 4pm
Sunday: 11am – 5pm

For schools:
Arrange a workshop session through Bodleian Education:

Equipment at the Bodleian Bibliographical Press

Metal type

List of type holdings at the Bodleian Bibliographical Press, prepared July 2023

Wood type

Paul Nash, Catalogue of the Collection of Wood-Type Donated to The Bibliography Room, Bodleian Library, by Stephen Austin and Sons, 2013 (compiled in 2021)

  • The ‘Dürer’ Press, a full-size working replica wooden press made by Alan May
  • Large John & Jeremiah Barrett Albion Press of 1835, serial number 539. Platen 17¾” x 24”.  This was the press used by C.H.O. Daniel, Provost of Worcester College, from 1880-1906 and presented to the library in 1919.
  • Medium Miller & Richard Albion Press of 1898, serial number 4993. Platen 12” x 18”. From the Moss Press
  • A Columbian, from the Samson Press (c. 1860)
  • Medium Harrild & Sons Albion Press of 1877, serial number 3531.  Platen 11” x 16”. From Leonard Baskin’s Gehenna Press
  • Small table-top Frederick Ullmer Albion Press of circa 1900, serial number 2919. Platen, 9 ⅞ x 7 in.
  • A star-wheel etching press
  • A ‘Western’ model proofing press, formerly belonging to Vivian Ridler, Printer to the University, by kind permission of the Story Museum.
  • A Risograph (stencil duplicator)
  • A Chinese typewriter (Double Pigeon brand)
  • A Western typewriter (Remington)