This paper provides a history of the Golden Cockerel Press, an English private press active between 1921 and 1961. There were three major periods in the Press’s development. Under Harold Taylor the Press was an idealistic attempt to provide an opportunity for the publication of new writers not yet well-enough known for the larger publishing market. The second owner was Robert Gibbings who had helped found the Society of Wood-Engravers and used the Press as a showcase for his own and fellow engravers’ work. Finally, during the longest period in the Press’s history, Christopher Sandford continued both the innovative approach to text and the interest in wood engraving for illustrations. He produced 122 books, most on handmade paper in limited editions, and contrived to keep the cost within the price range of the average book collector by using mechanical typesetting at a commercial press while yet overseeing and revising the work at every stage of its design. Sandford sold the Press to Thomas Toseloff, an American, in 1959.
The work of the Press is exceptionally fine and contains a unique record of British wood engraving over a period of forty years. Following the history of the Press are three appendices: a chronological list of the Press books, an index to authors, and an index to illustrators.