Curwen Press

The Curwen Press was founded by the Reverend John Curwen in 1863 to publish sheet music for the "tonic sol-fa" system.[1] The Press was based in Plaistow, Newham, east London, England, where Curwen was a pastor from 1844.[2] The Curwen Press, under the management of Harold Curwen, John's grandson, was at the vanguard of the design revolution that saw expression in British printing in the early 20th century.[3] Many well-known graphic artists, including Eric Ravilious, Edward Bawden, Claud Lovat Fraser, Paul Nash and Barnett Freedman worked with Curwen.[4] The Press's output included books, posters and published ephemera.

Curwen Press
Founded1863 (1863)
FounderJohn Curwen
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Publication types
  • Sheet music
  • books
  • posters
  • artists' prints
An untitled patterned paper by Althea Willoughby, for the Curwen Press, circa 1930

In 1972 the Press produced a reprint of the first issue of The Imprint for the members of the Wynkyn De Worde Society. In the 4 pages added, Francis Meynell & K.D. give some insight about the history of the Meynell-family, the Westminster Press, and history of The Imprint. [5]

In 1977, the Tate Gallery held an exhibition called Artists at Curwen: A Celebration of the Gift of Artists' Prints from the Curwen Studio.

The sheet music division became independent in the 1930s and is now an imprint of Wise Music Group.[6] Curwen Press closed in 1984; The Curwen Studio survives as an independent studio.[7]


  1. ^ Art & Print: the Curwen Story; Alan Powers; Tate Publishing; 2008
  2. ^ Art & Print: the Curwen Story; Alan Powers; Tate Publishing; 2008; p. 11
  3. ^ Design: Harold Curwen & Oliver Simon, The Curwen Press; Webb & Skipwith; Antique Collectors Club; p. 15
  4. ^ Artists at Curwen: Pat Gilmour: Tate Publications:London: 1977
  5. ^ The Imprint, Number One, reprinted for the members of the Wynkyn de Worde Society, The Curwen Press, 1972
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ [2][dead link]

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