The Petrarch Press

Now Available

Shakespeare’s Sonnets

The Most Authentic Text in a Fine Press Edition


The Petrarch Press is pleased to announce our latest publication: Shake-speare’s Sonnets. This intimate edition presents the Bard’s timeless poetry in its most authentic form: that of the original 1609 first edition, including the archaic “long-s” character and ligatures. Typeset, printed, and bound by hand, the Sonnets is the most important book published by the Press to date.  Learn more….



Editing Shake-speare’s Sonnets

Shakespearean English can be problematic for modern readers. Standardisation of English did not begin in earnest until the late 18th century. Some words have various spellings, all of which were considered normal at the time. Some words had meanings that have changed over the centuries. The letters ‘u’ and ‘v’ had not found their modern sounds. And perhaps most disturbing for modern readers, a second form of the letter ‘s’ – easily confused with an ‘f’ – was in universal use

While our Petrarch Press editions are fine-press books that serve to enrich our personal reading experience, we also strive for textual accuracy. When we first contemplated printing a new edition of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, we asked ourselves, ‘How can we produce a book that combines formal beauty with scholarly integrity?’ ‘What can we contribute that has not already been done?’ Every publisher of Shakespeare’s Sonnets must select the version they wish to print, and this is necessarily an edited version. We began by seeking a text that was accessible to modern readers, while also preserving as much as possible of the authentic flavour of the original text.


Our New Typecasting Foundry

Test Font of Kennerley RomanIN OCTOBER 2010 the Press acquired its own Monotype Thompson typecasting machine, along with dozens of series of matrices, the small recessed molds for the three-dimensional letterforms that are the essence of letterpress printing. Our Thompson caster will give us more control over the ‘fit’ and appearance of the types we use in our handmade books, and it opens up the possibility for designing our own typeface.   More…


A Recent Commission

Printing the Book on the Chandler & Price Platen Press.LAST YEAR, THE PRESS RECEIVED a commission to produce a small letterpress edition of poetry: a personal volume of 50 sonnets for the author’s own distribution. The author had heard of the Press from a colleague who had seen our fine-press publications, and preferred the handmade quality of our letterpress editions over a plain paperback, print-on-demand booklet.   More…