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January 26, 1998

Regional History Project publishes oral history of world renowned fine press

Julie Fawcus in her Paris apartment

By Barbara McKenna

A new publication by the University Library's Regional History Project provides an inside look at the workings of one of the world's greatest fine presses, the Trianon Press of Paris, France. Founded in 1947, the press is renowned for its exquisite facsimile productions of William Blake's illuminated works and its wide range of fine-press volumes.

The publication, Julie Fawcus: Recollections of Trianon Press, documents the history of the press as told by Julie Fawcus, the widow of Trianon's founder, Arnold Fawcus.

The archive of the Trianon Press was acquired by the University Library in the early 1980s and is housed in Special Collections. A small publisher of exceptional art and fine-press books, the press produced a series of superb works in Paris from the late 1940s through the 1980s. Along with the pieces by Blake, the press produced works by such artists and authors as Paul Cézanne, Marc Chagall, Aldous Huxley, Marcel Duchamp, Ben Shahn, and others. The archive is virtually complete and includes hand-corrected negatives and hand-cut stencils representative of the press's collotype process, as well as correspondence, business records, and copies of all the titles produced by the press.

In the oral history, produced by Regional History Project head Randall Jarrell, Julie Fawcus discusses her husband in his role as "buccaneer publisher," and recalls the press's collaborative work with Robert Graves, Duchamp, Huxley, Shahn, and others. Fawcus gives an insider's view of the struggles and enormous technical difficulties involved in the creation of the work, discussing the details of the techniques used by Trianon's French artisans to produce their remarkable facsimiles.

Xeroxed, indexed copies of the oral-history volumes can be purchased at cost by research collections and libraries. The volumes are available to researchers and readers in Special Collections at UCSC's McHenry Library and at Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley. For more information, contact the Regional History Project at (408) 459-2847 or by e-mail at ihreti@cats.ucsc.edu. The Regional History Web site includes a complete catalog of publications.

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