A Modest Proposal (deluxe)

This publishing of A Modest Proposal was produced to mark the 350th anniversary of the birth of Jonathan Swift in 1667. First printed in 1729 by Sarah Harding ‘on the Blind Key‘, Dublin. Designed, typeset and letterpress printed by Jamie Murphy with much grateful assistance from Niamh McNally, Sarah O’Neill and Phelim McGovern. The type employed is 22 point Monotype Caslon, an interesting cut quite close in character to William Caslon’s ‘Roman and Italick’ types of the late 1720s. The type was originally cast into founts by Neil Winter at The Whittington Press from matrices acquired from the Oxford University Press. The book was printed on a Western style Double Crown proofing press at Distillers Press, NCAD, Dublin. Andrew Carpenter has introduced the edition. Jessica Traynor has supplied nine new poems in response to the original text. David O’Kane has scratched the ten illustrations which have been editioned from lithographic stones by Michael Timmins at his workshop in Stoneybatter. 

The book has been printed on 250gsm mouldmade paper from the Zerkall Mill, Hürtgenwald, Germany, supplied by John Purcell, London. Based in Wiltshire, UK, Jemma Lewis has designed and produced the marbled papers based on marble patterns found at St. Patrick’s Cathedral where Swift was once Dean. Eleanor Swan has produced the porcelain inserts for the standard copies at her studio on the grounds of Russborough House, Co. Wicklow.

The edition is limited to 35 books. Copies marked A to Z have been half bound in Moroccan goat with marbled paper sides. These were produced by Tom, Patricia, Pat and Tommy Duffy at their workshop in Dublin’s Five Lamps area. Copies marked i, ii, iii, iv have been similarly bound and remain hors de commerse.

560 x 762 mm open.


Copies marked 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 (seen here) have been bound in unique full leather designs by Kate Holland and are accompanied by a portfolio containing a full suite of the lithographs and a full suite of the poems. The five designer bindings each depict a theme of protest from modern day Ireland — Abortion, Social Housing, Homelessness, Immigration, Religion. The leather has been dyed, reverse lithographically printed and inlaid. The end papers are printed on Losiny Handmade from the Czech republic. The doublures are aluminium leaf and gilded from behind in 24 carat gold. The top edge has been ploughed and finished in graphite. Each book is presented in a solander box.