Printer’s blocks

We can get some unlikely items given to us here at the local museum serving Market Lavington and Easterton. At first sight this looks like a picture of St Mary’s Church – the parish church for Market Lavington and, prior to about 1875, for Easterton as well.

Market Lavington Church but why is it back to front?

Market Lavington Church but why is it back to front?

Observant viewers might realise, though, that this is back to front. This is because what we have here is a half tone printing block. It is mounted on a suitable piece of wood.

Because this is for printing. It is a half tone block.

Because this is for printing. It is a half tone block.

The science and manufacture of these items is quite complex. If you want to know more look at this post on the British Library blog.

We were actually given two of these blocks. This one shows the church interior.

The church interior is also back to front for printing

The church interior is also back to front for printing

Blocks like these were used in the printing of magazines and newspapers until comparatively recent times. These days computers have made the job much simpler.

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