Shakespeare & Sonnet 112

An anniversary gift of the Bard to the Bodleian

ONE OF THE WORLD'S GREAT LIBRARIES, the Bodleian Library of the University of Oxford in England, proposed a letterpress project. To honor the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, they invited printers from across the globe to reprint one of Shakespeare's 154 sonnets and submit a single print to produce a celebratory portfolio for the Bodleian collection.

Lead Graffiti jumped at the challenge and selected Sonnet 112. It was a no-brainer for us. The word "impression" was in the first line.

The plot thickens

MOST PRINTERS, WE FIGURED, would likely take the Bodleian's interest in the sonnets at their word and few would include images. We cropped and enhanced an engraving of Shakespeare and had it made into a large copperplate. You can see him in the top right corner in a ghostly, light color keeping an eye on things, past and present.

Taking a very accurate photo of the first 1609 printing of Sonnet 112 and turning it into a photopolymer plate, we printed it with all of its original charm and printing inconsistencies.

For a 2016 version, some Lead Graffiti hand rolling on a Sonnet 112 remix, set in a Baskerville & Eurostile combo, added both our personal spin and a more modern touch.

For a taste of icing on the cake, we blind-debossed (printed without ink) the date of each sonnet version, on the left. So, you can have your quaint and Lead Graffiti, too.

Sonnet 112

Your love and pity doth the impression fill
Which vulgar scandal stamp’d upon my brow;
For what care I who calls me well or ill,
So you o’er-green my bad, my good allow?
You are my all the world, and I must strive
To know my shames and praises from your tongue:
None else to me, nor I to none alive,
That my steel’d sense or changes right or wrong.
In so profound abysm I throw all care
Of others’ voices, that my adder’s sense
To critic and to flatterer stopped are.
Mark how with my neglect I do dispense:
You are so strongly in my purpose bred
That all the world besides methinks are dead.

Buy it now

LETTERPRESS BROADSIDE : Shakespeare & Sonnet 112

To purchase one of these limited edition prints, use the cart below.

  • Digitally designed and set in Baskerville and Eurostile, and printed with a copperplate and photopolymer plates
  • Printed via letterpress in 2 hand-rolled colors, plus black & tan, and blind deboss on a Vandercook Universal III
  • Limited edition of 45 prints
  • Size 14.5" x 22.5" on acid-free Somerset Textured white, 300 gsm, with deckled edges at top & bottom