B.A. (Hons.) Fine Art, Painting. Central School of Art & Design, London.
Diploma in Fine Art, Painting, Central School of Art & Design, London.
Self-employed artist, designer, printer, bookbinder and publisher. Painting, drawing and printmaking; designing books, ephemera and signage for individuals and national institutions. Hand printing wood engravings and woodcuts. Writing, printing and publishing limited edition books and prints. Lecturing and research.
Controller (Managing and Artistic Director) Gwasg Gregynog Ltd., The University of Wales, Wales, UK. Strategic planning, management and financial control. Designing, printing, marketing and publishing fine illustrated books, and developing educational and training programmes.
Self-employed artist, printer, bookbinder and publisher. Designing, printing and binding on commission. Lecturing and demonstrating to educational and other groups. Making and exhibiting books, wood engravings, linocuts and paintings. Restoring books and printing presses.
Founding Member and Director, Charlotte Press Printmaking Workshop. Establishing the Workshop, planning courses and teaching relief printmaking, letterpress jobbing work, daily management and financial control.
Archaeological Draughtsman, University of Newcastle, Department of Adult Education. Producing finished plans, drawings and artwork for publication. Drawing from artefacts and on-site plans.
Other Employment and Training
1997 – External examiner, D.Litt, University of Newcastle.
1988-95 – Visiting Lecturer, Department of Visual Art, University of Wales Aberystwyth.
1978-81 – Visiting Lecturer, Department of Printmaking, Central School of Art & Design, London.
1976-8 – Tutor in Relief Printmaking, W.E.A. Newcastle upon Tyne.
1978 – Trained in bookbinding by Judith Segal, Oxford.
1975 – Printer for Blair Hughes-Stanton, Manningtree, Essex: printing editions of wood engravings.
Achievements and Awards
2009 – Achieved permanent resident status in the US.
2005-8 – O-1 non-immigrant visa (as an alien of extraordinary ability in the arts).
2005 – Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere, UK: Artist in Residence
2004-5 – Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Minneapolis, Minnesota: Artist in Residence
2003 – Oxford Fine Press Book Fair: Judges commendation for Inside the Book.
2001 – Limited Edition Award for The Wood Engravings of David Gentleman, British Book Design & Production Exhibition.
Oxford Fine Press Book Fair: Judges award, for The Wood Engravings of David Gentleman.
1997-2000 – Founder member and committee member, Fine Press Book Association.
1996 – New Visual Identity for University of Wales Swansea and Design Guidelines - Stationery.
1990-3 – Honorary Fellow, Department of Visual Art, University College of Wales Aberystwyth.
1992 – Limited Edition Award, British Book Design & Production Exhibition.
1991 – Winner, Premio Felice Feliciano, International Book Design Competition, Verona, Italy.
Limited Edition, British Book Design & Production Exhibition.
1990 – Limited Edition Award, British Book Design & Production Exhibition.
1981-5 – Honorary Printer, Newcastle Imprint Club.
1984 – Design of book stamp for Department of Special Collections. Bodleian Library, Oxford.
1983-5 – Member of the management committee, The Literary and Philosophical Society, Newcastle upon Tyne.
1983-5 – Trustee, the Thomas Bewick Birthplace Trust.
1978-84 – Founder member and Director, the Charlotte Press printmaking workshop, Newcastle upon Tyne.
‘Jack of all trades’, in The Private Library, Spring 2000.
‘Stanley Lawrence’, in Memories of S. T. E. Lawrence, Boxwood blockmaker, (Fleece Press, 1998.)
Unique Impressions - An Exhibition of Fine Prints and Books from Gwasg Gregynog [exhibition catalogue], (Gwasg Gregynog, 1997).
Gwasg Gregynog: A Descriptive Catalogue of Printing at Gregynog 1970-1990 [with G.T. Hughes], (Gwasg Gregynog, 1990).
As author, editor, designer, printer and publisher:
To Autumn, John Keats, Solmentes, 2008.
The Folly and Wickedness of War, (Solmentes Press, 2004).
Ink on the Elbow, (Solmentes Press and Midnight Paper Sales, 2003).
Inside the Book, (Solmentes Press, 2002).
The Wood Engravings of David Gentleman, David Gentleman and Fiona MacCarthy, (David Esslemont, 2000).
The Fall of Xenophon or The Distresses of a Modest Man, (David Esslemont, 2000).
Extempore Effusion, William Wordsworth, (David Esslemont, 1985).
The Printer’s Flower’s, (David Esslemont, 1999).
Thomas Bewick: Birds, (David Esslemont, 1984).
Sixteen Contemporary Wood Engravers, (David Esslemont, 1982).
Luke Clennell: Bewick apprentice, (David Esslemont, 1981).
John Bewick: a selection of wood engravings, (David Esslemont, 1980).
Newcastle upon Tyne: a short account of its foundation, (David Esslemont, 1980).
Thomas Bewick: a commemoration, (David Esslemont, 1978).
The Prelude, William Wordsworth, (The Wordsworth Trust, 2007).
A. Llwyd, ‘Yr Hebog uwch Felindre’, Beirdd Gregynog, 12, (Gwasg Gregynog, 1989); T. H. Parry Williams, Deg Soned, (Gwasg Gregynog, 1987); S. T. E. Lawrence, Boxwood Blockmaker, (Fleece Press, 1980); Iron Magazine (1978 -1984); C. Burgess, The Age of Stonehenge, (Dent, 1980).
As designer/illustrator and /or printer
Impressions of Nature, Roderick Cave, (The British Library, 2009). The Prelude, William Wordsworth, (The Wordsworth Trust, 2007). All in Good Time, George Daniels, (Peoples Archive, 2006). The Wood Engravings of Agnes Miller Parker, Ian Rogerson, (The British Library, 2006). The Key Keeper, Ben Jonson, (The Foundling Press, 2003). Parenthesis 1,2, The Journal of the Fine Press Book Association, 1999,2000. Angels, Paul Johnstone, (Celtic Cross Press, 1999): Printing wood cut illustrations and binding edition of 75 in quarter-leather. Galloway Landscapes, Neill, (Previous Parrot Press, 1997). Inwards Where all the Battle is: A selection of Alun Lewis’s writings from India, Jeremy Hooker (ed.), (Gwasg Gregynog, 1997). Places/Y Man a’r Lle, nos. 1-6 Ned Thomas (ed.), (Gwasg Gregynog, 1996-7). Agnes Miller Parker Wood Engravings from XXI Welsh Gypsy Folk-Tales: John Sampson and the gypsies of Wales, Ian Rogerson, (Gwasg Gregynog, 1997) Agnes Miller Parker Wood Engravings from the Fables of Esope: The story of a remarkable book, Ian Rogerson, (Gwasg Gregynog, 1996) The Story of Heledd, Glyn Jones and T. J. Morgan. Jenny Rowland (ed.), (Gwasg Gregynog, 1994). Cerddi Waldo Williams, Waldo Williams. J. E. Caerwyn Williams, (ed.), (Gwasg Gregynog, 1992). Wrenching Times: Poems from Drum-Taps by Walt Whitman, M. Wynn Thomas (ed.), (Gwasg Gregynog, 1991). The Pleasant History of Lazarillo de Tormes, Gareth Alban Davies (ed.), (Gwasg Gregynog, 1991). Cathedral Builders and Other Poems, John Ormond, (Gwasg Gregynog, 1991). Gwasg Gregynog: A Descriptive Catalogue of Printing at Gregynog from 1970-1990, David Esslemont and Glyn Tegai Hughes, (Gwasg Gregynog, 1990). Wolfram von Eschenbach, The Romance of Parzival and the Holy Grail, Retold in English prose by Carl Lofmark (Gwasg Gregynog, 1990). Giraldus Cambrensis: Itinerary through Wales, Brynley F. Roberts (ed.), (Gwasg Gregynog, 1989). Meic Stephens (ed.), Beirdd Gregynog /Gregynog Poets, nos 1-12 (Gwasg Gregynog, 1987-89) Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage (Land Press, 1988) William Condry, Wood Engravings by Gertrude Hermes being Illustrations to Selborne: With extracts from Gilbert White (Gwasg Gregynog, 1988) R Geraint Gruffydd (ed.), Llyfr Ionas [The Book of Jonah] ed. R. Geraint Gruffydd (Gwasg Gregynog, 1988) T. H. Parry-Williams, Deg Soned [Ten Sonnets], ed. R. Geraint Gruffydd (Gwasg Gregynog, 1987) Saunders Lewis, Cerddi Saunders Lewis [Poem by], ed. R. Geraint Gruffydd (Gwasg Gregynog, 1986)
Reviews and Articles
Review of The Doves Press, Marianne Tidcombe, (The British Library, 2002), in The New Bookbinder, (2003) Review of The Golden Cockerell Press, Roderick Cave, (The British Library, 2002) in The New Bookbinder, (2003) Review of Five Hundred Years of Book design, Alan Bartram, (The British Library, 2001), The New Bookbinder, (2002) Review of Fine Printing and the Private Presses, Roderick Cave, (The British Library, 2001), The New Bookbinder, (2002) Review of Printing on the Iron Handpress, by Richard-Gabriel Rummonds, (Oak Knoll Press, 1997) Matrix 18, (Whittington Press, 1998) Review of Waterfalls of the Mississippi, Richard Arey (Minnesota Outdoor Press, 1998), ) Matrix 18, (Whittington Press, 1998) Review of The Folio Golden Treasury, J. Michie (ed.), (The Folio Society, 1997), Multiples Vol. 3(5) (1997). Review of My Colorful Career, Gaylord Schanilec, (Bird & Bull Press, 1996), Matrix 17 (1997). Review of Wood Engraving - how to do it, Simon Brett, (Silent Books, 1995), Matrix 15 (1995), 210-14. ‘Book Production Notes’, Book News from Wales, (1994) Review of Understanding Type for Desktop Publishing, Paul Luna, (Blueprint, 1992), The Printing Historical Society Bulletin, (1993). Review of The Wood Engravings of Gertrude Hermes, Judith Russell, (Scholar Press, 1993), Matrix 13, (1993), 218-9. Review of The Wood Engravings of Blair Hughes-Stanton, Penelope Hughes-Stanton, (Private Libraries Association, 1991), Matrix 12, (1992), 197-9. Review of One of the Missing, Ambrose Bierce, (The Yolla Bolly Press, 1991), Bookways, (1992). Review of Farmers, Clayton Schanilec (ed) (Midnight Paper Sales Press, 1989), Matrix, (Whittington Press, 1989).
Public Lectures and Presentations
28 November 2012, The Victor & Carolyn Hammer Book Arts Lecture, King Library, University of Kentucky, Lexington. 'Making Books – and Chili'.
October 2003. Oak Knoll Book Fest, New Castle, Delaware, Panellist: The Future of Fine Press Books. 5 March 2002, Designer Bookbinders, Queens Hall, London. ‘David Esslemont - artist, designer, printer, bookbinder & publisher.’ 2000-4, January, The Wordsworth Trust, Arts and Book Festival, Grasmere, Demonstrations of printing on eighteenth-century hand press. 2 November 2000, Boston Public Library, ‘The Gregynog Press 1923 - 1940’ November 2000, US Lecture Tour: ‘David Esslemont - artist, designer, printer, bookbinder & publisher’: The Lilly Library, University of Indiana, Bloomington; Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Minneapolis; Colophon Club, & San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco; Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. 1 February 1999. Oxford Guild of Printers, Kidlington, ‘David Esslemont - Designer, Printer, Bookbinder, Publisher & Plumber’ 24 January 1999, The Wordsworth Trust, Arts and Book Festival, Grasmere, ‘The Polymath - Working as a printer today’. 9 December 1998. Printing Historical Society, St Brides Printing Library, London, ‘The Gregynog Press 1923 - 1940’. 17 October 1997. The Alan Hancox Lecture, Cheltenham Festival of Literature, Cheltenham, ‘The Gregynog Press’. 27 May 1997. The Times Hay Festival, Hay on Wye. ‘The Gregynog Press, 1923-1997.’ Similarly: 23 April 1997. The Portico Library, Manchester. 18 April 1997. Newcastle Cymrodorian Society, Newcastle upon Tyne. April 1997. The Double Crown Club, London. ‘The Gregynog Press - Unity and Harmony.’ 18 October 1996. - William Morris - A Celebration, Anglia Polytechnic University, Cambridge. ‘William Morris and Gwasg Gregynog.’ 5 October 1996. Oak Knoll Book Fest, New Castle, Delaware. ‘Wrenching Times at Gregynog.’ (Keynote address with Gaylord Schanilec). 30 September 1996. Friends of the McPherson Library, University of Victoria, Canada, ‘The Gregynog Press, 1923-1996’. Similarly: 28 September 1996. Writing and Publishing Programme, Simon Fraser University, Workshop: ‘Making a book - design decisions’. 27 September 1996. Alcuin Society, Friends of the Simon Fraser, public lecture University Library, SFU, Vancouver. 26 September 1996. Book Arts Programme, West Washington University, Bellingham. 25 September 1996. The Book Club of Washington and Book Arts Guild, Seattle. 10 November 1995. Artist’s Book Fair, Royal Festival Hall, London. ‘The Gregynog Press, 1923-1995.’ June 1995. Society of Bookbinders Conference, Manchester. ‘Bindings and Bottlenecks - Bookbinding at Gregynog’. 19 June 1994. Friends of the Graham Sutherland Gallery, Picton Castle. ‘The Gregynog Press, 1923-1993’. Similarly: 15 March 1995. Word and Visual Imagination, Gregynog. 8 June 1993. Department of Visual Arts, Gregynog. 8 May 1993. RSA Fellows, Gregynog. 22 April 1993. Fishguard Art Society, Fishguard. 9 February 1993. Private Libraries Association, Library Association, London. 4 August 1993. Pabell Celf a Chrefft, Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru, Llanelwedd. ‘Fy ngwaith yng Ngwasg Gregynog’. 5 April 1991. Society of Bookbinders Conference, Guildford. ‘Gregynog Bindings - Past and Present.’ March 1991. Aberystwyth Bibliographical Society. ‘The Gregynog Press - Unpublished Works’. 14 November 1990. Stanley Morison Memorial Lecture, Manchester Metropolitan University. ‘Printing at Gregynog - New Horizons’. 11 November 1990. Friends of the Book Arts Press, Columbia University School of Library Services, New York. ‘The Gregynog Press, 1923-1990’. Similarly: 8 November 1990. American Printing History Association, New England Chapter, Friends of Wellesley College Library, Letterpress Guild of New England, Guild of Bookworkers, Society of Printers. Wellesley College, Massachusetts. 5-6 November 1990. (Also ‘The Wood Engravings of Thomas Bewick.’) The Fine Printed Image, Third Annual Lilly Library Conference on the Book Arts, Indiana University. 2 November 1990. Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, Rosary College, Chicago 31 October 1990. University of Tulsa Library Associates, McFarlin Library, University of Tulsa. 29 October 1990. The Ampersand Club, MCBA. Minnesota Center for the Book Arts, Minneapolis 25 October 1990. The Friends of the UCLA Library and Department of Special Collections, UCLA, Los Angeles. 22 October 1990. The Book Club of California, San Francisco 9 November 1990. Amherst College Library, Amherst. ‘The History of Wood Engraving 1400-1985’. March 1989. Leverhulme Illustrated Book Conference, Gregynog. ‘The Illustration of Gregynog Press Books’. 1984 ‘Thomas Bewick and his importance as an illustrator in the North East’, History of the Book Trade in the North Seminar, Newcastle upon Tyne. November 1980, ‘The printing and binding of a book by hand’ Newcastle Imprint Club, Newcastle upon Tyne. 1978-1989. Demonstrations and lectures on different aspects of hand printing and binding, wood engraving, Bewick and the Book Trade in the North, presented to a wide variety of groups ranging from parties of school children to learned societies.
As Curator: 1997 Unique Impressions...Fine Prints and Books from Gwasg Gregynog. 23 May - 1 June, Hay Festival; first shown at The Portico Library, Manchester, 3 - 28 April 1997. 1994-7 An ABC Tour of Wales, linocuts by Peter Allen, Gwasg Gregynog Gallery; then touring throughout Shropshire. 1993 An ABC Tour About France, linocuts by Peter Allen; The Lover’s Song Book, wood engravings by Gertrude Hermes, Gwasg Gregynog Gallery. 1992 Wrenching Times, wood engravings by Gaylord Schanilec, Gwasg Gregynog Gallery; St David’s Hall, Cardiff.
Exhibitions including books designed and printed at Gwasg Gregynog:
1994. True to Type, Crafts Council, London; National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth; John Rylands Library, Manchester; Ty Llen, Swansea. 1990-1. The Gregynog Press 1923-1990, Davies Memorial Gallery, Newtown; Llantarnam Grange; Wrexham Arts Centre; Lethaby Gallery, Central St Martins, London. 1990-2. British Book Design and Production, Central St Martins and the Frankfurt Book Fair.
Exhibitions of work by David Esslemont
2009–11 Bookbinding. One of fifty books chosen for the Guild of Bookworkers touring ehibition “Marking Time”. MCBA, Minneapolis; San Francisco Public Library, etc. 2009 Books, prints and paintings, a 40-year retrospective. 1 September - 16 October. Preus Library, Luther College Decorah, Iowa. 2009 Books and paintings, 1 April - 31 April, The Perfect Edge, Decorah, Iowa. 1984. Prints and Paintings, [With Simon King]. 21 October - 10 November. Collingwood College, University of Durham Paintings, Prints, Wood Engravings, Fine Bindings. 6-27 April. Queen’s Hall, Hexham. British Fine Printing 1984. St Lawrence Jewry, London, July 1984 1982. National Exhibition of Wood Engravings. [Group show], Hereford. Eighteen Contemporary Wood Engravers. [Group show], DLI Museum, Durham, 3 April - 9 May. Eighteen Contemporary Wood Engravers. [Group show], Collingwood College, Durham, 16 May - 27 June 1979. Prints and Paintings. Bondgate Gallery, Alnwick. David Esslemont - Prints. 22 May - 1 June. Calouste Gulbenkian Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne. Northern Print Workshops Exhibition, Newcastle upon Tyne.
Farming (growing seed), cooking, gardening, architecture, building, natural history and playing violin.