Letterpress

Getting Shirty

I bought this printing block in a rash eBay frenzy the other day. It’s not something I would generally go for but this really caught my attention.  The eBay image was not particularly sharp with a very scant write up, but there were only a few minutes to go, so ‘bing!’ and it was mine.

It arrived this morning and it wasn’t a fully carved woodblock like I thought It was, but actually metal strip inserted into a heavy wood block. Absolutely beautiful!

If I print from this block (I am unsure whether to because I don’t want to damage it) I will only hand-roll it for a soft impression. I like the patina it already has too.

The block measures approximately 19 x 23cm and the design is raised 4mm high. This doesn’t mean much until you put it into proportion with something else:

So what is it?

And for those who can’t appreciate the reversed world of the printer:

I wondered if I could trace where it came from and did a quick search for shirtings, cotton mills, chorley and found that there were quite a few. Without any other identifying marks I think this is far as I go.

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3 thoughts on “Getting Shirty

  1. I know- it’s much nicer than I thought it would be. I just don’t know whether to risk printing from it – I would hate to damage it. Maybe a hand rollered print, or even a blind emboss into damp watercolour paper?

  2. I also have a wood block similar to your “Getting Shirty”. Mine was made in Manchester prior to 1890 according to a printmaker I talked to today. Any idea what they are worth?? Yours is the only other example I could find online.

    Thanks
    Steve

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