Jonathan Swift



The Salvage Press, 2014


Designed by Jamie Murphy and Madison Shackell-York and printed by Jamie at Distillers Press, National College of Art and Design, Dublin, Ireland.

Published in an edition of 40 standard copies and 10 deluxe.


I’m thoroughly enjoying getting my mitts on editions from The Salvage Press of late, as this new addition here shows. Although the entry is for the deluxe copy of The Puppet Show, I am going to extend it a little to include the full series of four standard edition Swift booklets, which The Puppet Show is from, and which I also own.

While designers in residence at Distillers Press during 2014, Jamie Murphy and Madison Shackell-York decided to create a series of four booklets of single poems by Swift, each soft-wrappered in a different pastel coloured paper, and all collected together in a nice sturdy board slipcase and sold as a set. In addition, there were individually available hard-bound deluxe copies, of which I am here featuring The Puppet Show. The booklets, all beautifully printed in large sizes of Monotype’s Caslon Old Face and each featuring a stunning multi-colour woodcut illustration by Madison Shackell-York, are Stella’s Birthday, Desire and Possession, The Puppet Show and A Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed. The original years of publication for the poems (from 1725 to 1731) coincides with the years that Caslon’s original Roman and Italick’ types were first seeing use, which is an attention to typographic history and detail that I am starting to find familiar in Salvage Press books!

The deluxe copy of The Puppet Show is a fine example of a less-is-more approach to deluxe editions. It is very decently bound in a simple fashion, with pastel pink paper over boards, printed in Caslon in black, with a mid blue cloth spine printed in white. This is then housed in a matching blue cloth slipcase. Very handsome in its understatement! The poem looks great on the page in its large type size and is an entertaining example of Swift’s biting satire. The bold woodcut is a striking highlight to the edition, and it leaps from the page with its range of pinks and blue. And this statement goes for all four booklets, each of which also features a different woodcut in pink and blue.

So, yet again, a Salvage Press publication easily makes an appearance in my Books of the Moment, and I eagerly await the forthcoming items that I know of in the pipeline.




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