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Sebastian Carter

The 2013 APHA Awards Committee names Sebastian Carter as the recipient of the APHA Individual Award. This award is intended to recognize “a distinguished contribution to the study, recording, preservation, or dissemination of printing history, in any specific area or in general terms.”

It is almost as if the description of the award was crafted for him.
Until 2008, when Carter shut it down, he was proprietor of the Rampant Lions Press. It was founded by his father Will Carter in 1924, giving it perhaps the longest run of a private press in United Kingdom. Apart from being an intelligent designer of books, he is also a smart publisher and a scholar. He is author of Twentieth Century Type Designers (published first by Trefoil in 1987, and a later second edition by Lund-Humphries in 1995), a definitive book on the subject which has been reprinted many times since its first release. He is also the UK editor of Parenthesis, the journal of the Fine Press Book Association. He is an articulate writer about typography, printing, and book design. His articles in Matrix, the Times Literary Supplement, and Parenthesis–on printing history, book design, and typography–have been enjoyed by scholars and general readers since the 1960s. His contributions to Matrix alone would merit some special honor.

A sampling of the titles of his books and articles establishes the range of his contributions: The Book Becomes, The Making of A Fine Edition, 1984; In Praise of Letterpress, 2001; Painting With Type, 2007; “Arnold Fawcus and the Trianon Press” (in Matrix 3), 1983; “Victor Hammer” (in Matrix7), 1987; “Stanley Morison and Jan Van Krimpen: A Survey of their Correspondence,” (4 parts in Matrix 8-11), 1988-1991; “Letters & Things. Wood Engraved Initials of Eric Gill (in Matrix 15), 1995; “The Golden Cockerel Press, private presses, and private types,” 1996; “Steven Heller and Lita Talarico: Typography Sketchbooks” in the Times Literary Supplement, 2012.

He guest-edited a number of The Monotype Recorder on Eric Gill in 1990, and contributed a section called “The Morison Years” to the centenaryRecorder in 1997. He is a co-author of the History of the Monotype Corporation to be published by the Printing Historical Society. He contributed a number of entries to The Oxford Companion to the Book(2010).

He was born in 1941 in Cambridge, England. He was educated at Christ’s Hospital, and King’s College, Cambridge, reading English and Architecture and Fine Arts. He then worked as a designer with the London publisher John Murray, followed by two years in Paris with the Trianon Press. Back in London he worked for the Stellar Press and Ruari McLean Associates. In 1966 he married Penelope Kerr and moved back to Cambridge to join his father at Rampant Lions. He became a partner in 1971 and took over the business in 1991.

It is a pleasure to present this year’s American Printing History Association Individual Award to Sebastian Carter.