date of foundation: 1863
founded by: John Curwen
The Curwen Press was founded by the Reverend John Curwen in 1863 to publish sheet music for the "tonic sol-fa" system. The Press was based in Plaistow, Newham, east London, England, where Curwen was a pastor from 1844. 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. Many well-known graphic artists, including Eric Ravilious, Edward Bawden, Claud Lovat Fraser, Paul Nash and Barnett Freedman worked with Curwen. The Press's output included books, posters and published ephemera.
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.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. Curwen Press closed in 1984; The Curwen Studio survives as an independent studio.
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