Doves Press

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Page from the Doves Bible

Doves Press was a private press based in Hammersmith, London. It was founded by T. J. Cobden Sanderson before 1900 when he asked Sir Emery Walker to join him (their partnership was dissolved in 1909). Cobden-Sanderson commissioned the press's type, which was drawn under Walker's supervision, and set up the Doves Bindery to bind the books he and Walker printed. The Press produced all its books using a single size of this type, between 1900 and 1916, and is considered to have been a significant contributor to the Arts and Crafts movement. The founders were associated with William Morris and the Kelmscott Press. The type, known as 'The Doves Type', was based on types used by Nicolas Jenson from the 1470s.[1][2]

The matrices were destroyed by Cobden-Sanderson on the 21st of March, Good Friday, 1913 by casting them off the Hammersmith Bridge in London, a short walk from the Press. As further recorded in his Journals, he began the destruction of the types beginning the 31st of August 1916 at Midnight, when "it seemed a suitable night, and time.[3]" He is said to have completed the task in January 1917, though his Journals do not mention this culmination.

The press was named after The Dove, an old riverside pub next door. The Doves Press was responsible for the Doves Bible (5 vols, 1902–1904), which is considered to be one of the best examples of its type.[2]

The Doves Type Revival[edit]

After the destruction of the matrices and type by Cobden-Sanderson (see above), the Jensonian type design used by the Doves Press was recently re-created as a digital facsimile by Robert Green.[4] The revival is being offered for sale as a download.


  1. ^ Naylor, Gillian: "The things that might be: British design after Morris". In Diane Waggoner, ed.: The beauty of life: William Morris & the art of design. New York: Thames and Hudson, 2003, ISBN 0-500-28434-2, p. 122-124
  2. ^ a b The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05.
  3. ^ The Journals of Thomas James Cobden-Sanderson | 1879–1922 | Volume II — p. 296
  4. ^ [1]


  • Marianne Tidcombe. The Doves Press. London: British Library; New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Press, 2002 [i.e. 2003].