Dante > Ashendene Inferno
Quite a different presentation of the text than the first printed edition, this Ashendene edition nonetheless imitates several features of medieval manuscripts and early printed books, in keeping with the medievalizing aesthetic of the British private presses associated with William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement. For Morris and his followers, hearkening back to pre-industrial text production was a way to resist the homogenizing forces of mass production. Instead of using a title page, the publication information appears in a colophon at the end of the text, as was common in manuscript production and in earlier printed books. The illustrations were copied from a 1491 edition of the Divina commedia, down to the small V and D over Virgil and Dante's heads as they move through Hell.
This Inferno is the first of the Ashendene imprints to employ the Subiaco type designed under press owner Charles Henry St. John Hornby’s direction in self-conscious imitation of the font used by Swynheym and Pannartz, the first Italian printers, who first opened shop in Subiaco in 1465 before moving their operation to Rome. An avid Italophile, Hornby spent a decade printing Dante, producing the whole Divina Commedia in Italian in this trim size (releasing the Purgatorio in 1904 and the Paradiso in 1905) as well as a Complete Works in folio and English translation in 1909.