Gregynog Press

The Gregynog Press was among the most enduring of the Davies sisters’ visionary arts projects

It was established in 1922 and during the next eighteen years the Press gained a reputation for producing limited edition books of the highest order and ranked alongside the leading Private Presses of the day.

The Gregynog Press was unique in that everything was created under one roof – design, typography, illustration, printing and binding. Its fine printing owed much to the incomparable skill of Herbert John Hodgson, pressman from 1927 to 1936, and his successor, Idris Jones. It was fortunate also in the employment of one of the great twentieth-century bookbinders, George Fisher, who joined the staff in 1925. Fisher was responsible for inaugurating special bindings in full leather for part of each edition. Though many of these were designed by the Press artists, Fisher undertook the major part of their making himself. They were superbly executed and noted particularly for the quality of their tooling. Among private presses, only Gregynog paid attention to the quality of its bindings which were to enhance the value of the books among collectors.

From 1939, the male staff were called into active service, George Fisher remaining at the press alone until 1945 finishing the special bindings. In 1940 the press was forced to close, having printed forty-two books, three for private circulation and well over two hundred pieces of ephemera. For eighteen years it had enjoyed a deservedly distinguished reputation in the world of fine books, but the first phase of printing at Gregynog was over.

More recently the press was commissioned to produce the inaugural document for the opening of the National Assembly for Wales in 1999. In celebration of this occasion, the first instrument of Welsh government for more than 600 years, a 250 limited edition souvenir volume was printed.

2002 saw the production of one of the most successful volumes to be produced by Gwasg Gregynog in recent years. ‘Cutting Images’, a limited edition volume of more than 50 linocuts by one of Wales’ greatest artists, Sir Kyffin Williams, RA, spectacularly sold out three weeks after its launch.

Also in that year a new translation of poems by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was produced to commemorate the 600th anniversary of the birth of Johannes Gutenberg, the father of printing from moveable type. Among books recently created is a selection from Thomas Pennant’s tours of North Wales entitled ‘Pennant and his Welsh Landscapes’. Another highly successful publication was the extraordinary magnum opus, ‘Of a Feather’, which was written and illustrated by Colin See-Paynton, with a foreword by Sir David Attenborough. This was published and launched in London towards the end of 2008.

  • Become a Friend

    Since 2019 Gregynog has been run by a charitable Trust. Our vision is to be Wales’ most welcoming home for nature and the arts. We have a huge amount of work to do to restore our Grade 1 listed gardens and repair the Grade 2 star listed hall. Our grounds are open to everyone, every day and we are run a varied programme of events from Fairy and Halloween Trails to classical concerts in our Music Room.

    We urgently need support both from volunteers and donations and every little helps so whatever you can do to support Gregynog please do get in touch.