Michael Twyman

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Michael Twyman (born 1934) is a Professor Emeritus of the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication at the University of Reading. He joined the university staff in 1959. He established a BA (Hons) course in Typography & Graphic Communication which eventually grew into its own department in 1974. Both the programme and the department are widely acknowledged to be the first of their kind in the world. He retired from full-time teaching in 1998 but still teaches postgraduate students and is also the Director of the Centre for Ephemera Studies.

He has been a visiting teacher at Rare Book Schools in Virginia, Lyons, Wellington and Melbourne. For many years he has served as Vice-President of the Printing Historical Society and in 2016 he succeeded Asa Briggs as President of the Ephemera Society.

Twyman is often cited for his works on the history of printing and ephemera, especially lithography. In addition, he is well known for his writings on the theory of graphic language. He also completed and edited Maurice Rickards' book Encyclopedia of Ephemera (London: British Library, 2000). He was an early member of the Printing Historical Society and has edited and contributed to issues of its Journal.

In 1983 he was awarded the Samuel Pepys Medal for his Outstanding Contribution to Ephemera Studies, and in 2014 the Sir Misha Black award and was added to the College of Medallists.[1] In 2021 he received the Gold Medal of the Bibliographical Society of London for distinguished services to bibliography.

Twyman is not to be confused with lawyer and conservative thinker Michael Tweyman of Toronto, Ontario.

Selected works[edit]

  • (1966) "John Soulby, Printer, Ulverston: A Study of the Work Printed by John Soulby, Father and Son, Between 1796 and 1827".
  • (1967) The lithographic hand press 1796–1850. Journal of the Printing Historical Society, no. 3
  • (1970) Printing 1770–1970: an illustrated history of its development and uses in England. Eyre & Spottiswoode, London
  • (1970) Lithography 1800-1850. OUP, London
  • (1973) Lithographic stone and the printing trade in the nineteenth-century. Journal of the Printing Historical Society, no. 8
  • (1979) A Schema for the Study of Graphic Language. In The Processing of Visible Language, (Eds, Kolers, P.A., Wrolstad, M.E. & Bouma, H.) Plenum, New York
  • (1982) The Graphic Presentation of Language, Information Design Journal 3(1)
  • (1985) Using Pictorial Language: A Discussion of the Dimensions of the Problem. In Designing Usable Texts, (Eds, Thomas Duffy & Robert Waller), Academic Press, Orlando.
  • (1988) Charles Joseph Hullmandel: lithographic printer extraordinary in Gilmour, P. (ed), Lasting impressions, Canberra, Australian National Gallery
  • (1990) Early Lithographed Books : a study of the design and production of improper books in the age of the hand press. Farrand, London.
  • (1993) The bold idea: the use of bold-looking types in the nineteenth century. Journal of the Printing Historical Society, no. 22.
  • (1996) Early Lithographed Music : a study based on the H. Baron collection. Farrand, London.
  • (1998) The British Library Guide to Printing: history and techniques. British Library, London.
  • (2000) Breaking the Mould : the first hundred years of lithography. British Library, London.
  • (2007) Images en couleur. Godefroy Engelmann, Charles Hullmandel et les débuts de la chromolithographie. Musée de l'imprimerie, Lyon
  • (2008) The long-term significance of printed ephemera. RBM: A journal of rare books, manuscripts, and cultural heritage, vol. 9, no. 1, Spring
  • (2013) A history of chromolithography: printed colour for all. British Library and Printing Historical Society, London.


  1. ^ "The Sir Misha Black Medal | Misha Black Awards". mishablackawards.org.uk. Archived from the original on 29 December 2016. Retrieved 25 June 2015.