View Full Version : Who was Sir Emery Walker?

Bo Aakerstrom
09-15-2005, 02:52 PM
Visited London the other day, attending an exhibition (which was not really worth the trouble of driving 120 miles anyway), when the wife suggested that we stop off for stroll along the Thames, near Eyot Island in Hammersmith.

We came across a building on Hammersmith Terrace with a blue plaque on the wall (see attached image), it belongs to a trust and is sometimes open to the public.

I wonder if someone knows about Sir Emery Walker. The trust's web site have quite a lot of stuff on it, but not very much relating to typography, which I assume he is known for.

Michael Rowley
09-15-2005, 03:54 PM

Google for 'Emery Walker': there quite a lot of typographically-related stuff. He worked with William Morris and later founded the Doves Press.

09-15-2005, 05:53 PM
We came across a building on Hammersmith Terrace with a blue plaque on the wall … I wonder if someone knows about Sir Emery Walker.Here is a fancy display (http://www.emerywalker.org.uk/) of the image you found. If you enter that site and then click on Emery Walker in the left-hand column, you can find out about this man.

In a nutshell: Walker collaborated with William Morris in the Kelmscott Press, a rich man’s notion of really fine printing. Printing quality was poor in the 19th century, and Morris began the idea of rummaging through old books to find high-quality models for printing type. Their image was flawed — their typefaces were overly ornamental, for one thing. But without these guys, we may never have had the brilliant British typographic revivals of the 1920/30s.

After Morris died, Walker founded the Doves Press along Morris-like lines with Cobden-Sanderson. But C-S went nuts and threw their type into the Thames in order to prevent anyone else from using it. (I have a friend who has done a digital recreation, and I doubt he is the only one. The thing is: the type is not at all in fashion!)

So Walker is an interesting guy, especially in the history of type and typography.