About ‘Oxford College Fine Prints’
Oxford College Fine Prints (OCFP) was the brainchild of Dr David Carey after he met Mr Ken Swift over 10 years ago. Ken had been an established bookseller in both Oxford and Ludlow (see Ken Swift’ below) but had retired to the Shropshire village of Leintwardine. There he met David in their local pub (The Sun Inn) where they both shared a taste in real ale and the pub newspaper.
After, 6 months they finally struck up a conversation and became good friends. It was here that Ken mentioned the plates and prints he had acquired but no longer had a way of marketing or selling them. David, who had retired from the military (see ‘David Carey’ below), suggested that they might sell the remaining Edmund new Oxford College engravings via a website, with the possibility of printing more in the future i.e. re-strikes, although this would be an expensive process due to finding both an Albion Press and an artisan printer to operate it. It also required finding quality hand-made paper. Accordingly, David invested in the project and Oxford College Fine Prints was formed.
From the original website OCFP sold prints worldwide, including to Australia, Hong Kong, USA, and throughout Europe. The business is small and bespoke and David always answers email enquiries personally; despite his busy medical and legal practice.
Our prints are unique. Apart from the few existing ‘New Loggan Prints’ from over 100 years ago there are no other prints being produced from bespoke high quality plates. Already some of the colleges are ‘sold out’ leaving the remainder both desirable and collectable.
In the late 1970’s, when I leased shop premises on the wrong side of Magdalen Bridge [!Cowley Road!] I discovered a large cache of the original Edmund New College prints in a series of plan chests in the basement of a Modern Art Gallery on the High Street, near Brasenose College. This shop had been some years before a Fine Art Gallery, but had been taken over by a proprietor who was not interested in trying to display or sell them.
This collection included about a third of the original engravings by New, but 1 copy of each of the others had been reserved, presumably with the idea of reprinting them in the future. In 1980, the owner of the collection sold them all to me, although by this time there were only duplicate copies of 6 of the Colleges.
Over the next couple of years I gradually had made 19 metal plates of those Colleges I had run out of, [or were about to], from the single copies that had been retained, by the same process originally used by Emery Walker to reproduce Edmund New’s pen & ink drawings, so that I could have them printed on a hand-press, as the originals had been.
In 1985, I opened a bookshop & gallery in Ludlow, and sold the Edmund New prints there, along with other engravings and lithographs for the next 20 years.
After finally retiring in March 2013, David Carey, who lived nearby, suggested that we might sell the remaining Edmund new Oxford College engravings via a website. This we have now done.
After leaving school David travelled worldwide for a few years as a failed rock and roll star, before joining the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy to train as a pilot. Thereafter he flew S-61 (Sea King) Helicopters to off-shore oil and gas platforms from the Shetland Isles. David retrained as a doctor in the mid 90s and served with the British Army for 10 years as a surgeon before returning to the Royal Navy as a Specialist in Aviation and Diving Medicine. During that time he served on operations and embarked on ships with Naval Air Squadrons, the last being HMS Ark Royal.
David retired to Shropshire as a Commander in 2012. Presently he is a Consultant Doctor and Director of Templar Medical which provides specialist medical services. He also qualified as a barrister being called to the Bar of the Inner Temple in 2016. In 2012 David compiled and edited, ‘Ludlow Food Heroes’, a book in aid of the charity Help for Heroes. It was then that he met Kenneth Swift and became interested in the works of Edmund New, having already been a collector of fine art, antiques and vintage wine.
Paul is a highly experienced musician and composer who has been involved in the music industry for most of his life. He has a diverse background and has worked with various genres throughout his career. After signing several recording and publishing contracts early on, Paul transitioned into music management and eventually decided to establish his own small record label.
Aside from his musical pursuits, Paul developed a deep appreciation for art, antique books, prints, and traditional printing methods. In 2022 I met David and shared his artistic background; especially our love of the guitar. David explained the OCFP and the Edmund New story to me and I was immediately taken with it. He explained that although, OCFP had been a success, Ken’s illness and the pandemic had impacted on the business and he was now looking to get OCFP firmly back on track. It seemed a perfect opportunity and I wanted to be involved. .