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Trianon Press Archive
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Arrangement
  • Administrative History
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Related Materials
  • Scope and Contents
  • Conditions Governing Use

  • Contributing Institution: University of California, Santa Cruz
    Title: Trianon Press Archive
    Creator: Fawcus, Arnold, 1917-1979
    Creator: Keynes, Geoffrey, 1887-1982
    Creator: William Blake Trust
    Creator: Fawcus, Julie Hollands, 1925-2014
    source: Fawcus, Julie Hollands, 1925-2014
    Identifier/Call Number: MS.099
    Physical Description: 576 Linear Feet 482 boxes, 1 map-case folder
    Date (inclusive): 1945-1999
    Date (bulk): 1955-1979
    Physical Location: Collection stored, in part, off-site at NRLF: Advance notice is required for access.
    Language of Material: English and French

    Conditions Governing Access

    Collection is open for research.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Shared purchase acquisition in association with the University of California campuses and Stanford University, circa 1983, from Julie Fawcus.


    This collection is arranged into eight series:
    • Series 1: Published projects
    • Series 2: Unpublished projects
    • Series 3: General business
    • Series 4: Exhibits
    • Series 5: Supplies and suppliers
    • Series 6: Arnold Fawcus personal files
    • Series 7: Publishers and distributors
    • Series 8: William Blake Trust
    The structure of the series was partly assigned at the Press and partly developed by Maureen Carey during processing.

    Administrative History

    Trianon Press was a Paris-based publisher of fine art books founded in 1947 by Arnold Fawcus, who directed its activities until his death in 1979, after which his wife and longtime colleague Julie Fawcus saw several projects through to completion and closed the Press in 1983. The first Trianon Press book, produced at the behest of the Louvre Museum, was Les Baigneuses (1947) on the work of Paul Cezanne, facsimiles for which were made by a unique combination of collotype and pochoir techniques developed by Daniel Jacomet, whose workshop would be responsible for producing much of the most admired work of the Press. Upon encountering Les Baigneuses while investigating adequate means of reproducing illuminations from William Blake's Jerusalem, Blake scholar Sir Geoffrey Keynes established the William Blake Trust, under the auspices of which the Trianon Press would produce facsimiles, via the Jacomet process, of 26 of Blake's illustrated works over a span of 30 years, from 1951 to 1982. In 1955, a second enduring collaboration began between the Trianon Press and the Abbé Henri Breuil and his assistant Miss Mary Boyle, resulting in several books reproducing the eminent archaeologist's original hand-colored tracings of prehistoric cave paintings from Southern Africa. The Trianon Press also produced seminal works of Marcel Duchamp, Ben Shahn, Fra Angelico, Gislebertus, Robert Graves, and Aldous Huxley, and contracted with various clients to produce commercial works.
    Arnold Fawcus was born in India in 1917—his father was a Civil Servant in the British Empire—and raised in his mother's native San Francisco until the age of nine, when he was sent to boarding school in England, where he stayed to study art at Trinity College, Cambridge. During his youth he returned often to San Francisco and the Sierra Nevada mountains, becoming an expert skier and joining the British Ski Team in 1938. When he graduated in 1939, he returned to California and became Assistant Winter Sports Director at Yosemite National Park, then went to Mexico, and upon his return was drafted into the infantry, despite not being a US citizen. He endeavored to rise in the ranks by co-authoring the American Military Ski Manual (rewritten in 1947 for the general reader and published as Swing into Skiing). After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Fawcus became a naturalized US citizen and received a commission to train the mountain skiing division in Colorado. He eventually went on to work in the American counter-intelligence service based in London, and after the war he settled in Lyon, France. There Fawcus initiated his first publishing venture in 1946, in partnership with Pierre Bordas (Arnold-Bordas) and Bernard Pfriem (Arnold: Fawcus & Pfriem, subsequently the Grey Falcon Press), producing Le Dur Desir de durer by Paul Éluard, with illustrations by Marc Chagall reproduced by the studio of Daniel Jacomet. The Arnold-Bordas partnership dissolved soon thereafter, as did the partnership with Pfriem. Grey Falcon Press endured as the US-based export shell of the newly established British company, Macleod & Fawcus Trianon Press, and its French counterpart Trianon Press, which published its first book, Les Baigneuses, in 1947.
    Julie Fawcus, née Hollands, was born in Chicago in 1925, graduated pre-med from Carleton College in 1947, and then lived, studied, and worked as an au pair in Norway, the Netherlands, and France, first in Montpellier, then Paris, where she worked for the Marshall Plan. She met Arnold Fawcus in 1949 before returning to the United States, working as a clerk and then as a teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area. She returned to Paris in 1956 and over the next quarter century became an indispensable assistant and companion to Arnold Fawcus, to whom she was married shortly before his death in 1979. Julie then supervised the completion of the Press's final publication, Constable with his friends in 1806 , in 1981 before closing the Press in 1983 and transferring the Trianon archives to UC Santa Cruz. Julie Fawcus passed away in 2014.
    Business operations of the Press were conducted out of Fawcus's frequently changing residence until 1955 when it secured its first offices at 125 ave du Maine in the Montparnasse neighborhood of Paris. The collotype and pochoir prints were produced nearby first by Daniel Jacomet, then in the workshops of Duval, Beaufumé, and finally after 1958 Hourdebaigt and Crampe. Trianon was known for its virtually indistinguishable facsimile reproductions which were produced by the unique application of both collotype and pochoir techniques.
    Collotype and Pochoir
    Collotype is a method of photomechanical reproduction first used in 1868 by Josef Albert in Germany, and was seen as a superior reproduction process throughout the mid-20th century because of its ability to render continuous graduations of tone without the intervention of a screen. The work of producing collotype plates was highly skilled, expensive, and notoriously prone to disaster. Variations in humidity were likely to upset the balance of moisture in the gelatin causing it to swell or shrink. The surface of the plates were often too delicate to produce more than two thousand impressions. For these reasons, was largely abandoned for other commercial techniques after the second World War, and was usually only used for luxury publications.
    Collotype is a photographic process in which a film of gelatin provides the printing surface. The technique is dependent on the fact that light sensitized gelatin hardens in proportion to the amount of light to which it is exposed. A solution of gelatin is poured over a sheet of plate glass. When dry, the plate is placed in contact with a reverse negative and exposed to light. In proportion to the strength of the transmitted light, the gelatin dries and hardens, while the unexposed areas remain capable of absorbing moisture. The surface can then be printed as a lithograph. The gelatin accepts the ink in an inverse proportion to the amount of moisture the surface retains, with the driest areas accepting the most and therefore printing darkest.
    Before starting the process of facsimile reproductions, two vital decisions needed to be made. First, how many base colors were to be printed in collotype to supply the framework for the facsimile. Second, how many stenciled colors (pochoir) would be required to reproduce an accurate watercolor copy of the original. First, the original plate was photographed and a reverse negative was made for each base collotype color. Each negative was reworked by hand so that all the colors other than the base color for that negative were eliminated and the values of that base color were attenuated. Each negative required up to sixteen hours of work involving retouching and masking. The negative was then developed onto a previously prepared gelatin plate, which was baked in order to harden it sufficiently to take up to five hundred good impressions.
    The success of the process depended on the colorist's analysis of colors for the base print, the subsequent layering of colors by the pochoir (hand stenciling) process, and continuous comparison with the original plate. The layering of the base colors provided the skeleton of the work to be reproduced. Often up to three weeks of work by a skilled craftsperson was required to prepare and make trials with the negatives before any actual printing was started. It was important for the stencil work to follow that these collotype printings be as perfectly "modeled" as possible, and that the same craftsperson who would later cut the stencils be in charge of preparing and printing the collotype negatives.
    After the plate was put on the press, at least half a day was needed to "work up" the color values. The printer could modify values by the application of chemicals onto the plate. If there were no accidents from the action of the chemicals that were used in the course of "working up" the plate or from other hazards in the shop, and the correct temperature and humidity were maintained, the printer could expect to print about 350 sheets per day.
    The hand stenciling process began after the base collotype was printed. In determining the base colors for the collotype printing, the colorist also chose the amount and order for the application of colors by the pochoir process. The zinc stencils were cut by hand for each shade of color in the original, using a sheet of the collotype printing as a guide. A watercolor wash was then applied by hand for each color, using large beaver stencil brushes. A certain amount of direct hand work was needed to soften the edges after the watercolor wash - for this the stencil was lifted off the print and a smaller brush was used.
    Pochoir proofs were obtained by the superimposition of all the stenciled colors required for each plate over the base collotype. These proofs were corrected from the original and alterations in color and improvements in color order were made. The time required for obtaining a satisfactory first proof was about a month for a highly skilled craftsperson. It then took approximately 7-9 weeks to apply the colors by hand through stencils for an edition of 400 copies, one plate only. Finally, when the proofs were considered satisfactory, they served as models for the coloring of the collotype plates.

    Preferred Citation

    Trianon Press Archive. MS 99. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Maureen Carey circa 1987-2017, then processed by Alix Norton, Jessica Calvanico, Morgan Gates, Hannah Newburn, and Nicholas Whittington in the Center for Archival Research and Training (CART), 2018-2019.
    Maureen Carey produced all initial inventories, determined chronology of materials, conducted research on the history of publications and the Trianon Press, and addressed conservation issues. Under the direction of Alix Norton, Calvanico, Gates, Newburn, and Whittington finished creating inventories, housed materials, wrote descriptive notes, separated overs from the collection, and finalized the finding aid.
    Folder labels were primarily copied from original labels on materials. English and French names were often interchangeably used for the same items (e.g. maquettes and dummies).

    Related Materials

    Publications produced by the Trianon Press are cataloged separately in our holdings in Special Collections, and may be found by searching "Trianon Press." in the Author/creator field in UCSC Library Search.
    The oral history of Julie Fawcus about the Trianon Press, Julie Fawcus: Recollections of Trianon Press , was conducted by Randall Jarrell and published in 1996 by the Regional History Project, UCSC Library. Available online at https://escholarship.org/uc/item/86z974zn
    Video: News report (November 8, 1990) on an exhibition of the Trianon Press Archive at the University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz. Call number DVD11191
    Audio: Talks presented on November 8-9, 1990 at Special Collections, McHenry Library, University of California, Santa Cruz and sponsored by the University Library and the Friends of the UCSC Library to mark the opening of an exhibition of the library's Trianon Press Archive. Call number LCD10804

    Scope and Contents

    This collection documents the publications and operations of the Trianon Press from the late 1940s through the early 1980s. The collection contains production materials, manuscripts, correspondence, publicity, and business records pertaining to both published and unpublished works of the Trianon Press, general organizational records of the Trianon Press and of the William Blake Trust, planning materials for exhibitions mounted to publicize the work of the Press, and personal papers of Trianon Press founder Arnold Fawcus.

    Conditions Governing Use

    Property rights for this collection reside with the University of California. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. The publication or use of any work protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use for research or educational purposes requires written permission from the copyright owner. Responsibility for obtaining permissions, and for any use rests exclusively with the user. For more information on copyright or to order a reproduction, please visit guides.library.ucsc.edu/speccoll/reproduction-publication.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Printers -- France -- Paris -- Archives
    Publishers and publishing -- France -- Paris
    Printing -- France -- Paris
    Pochoir prints
    Collotypes (Prints)
    Blake, William, 1757-1827
    Duchamp, Marcel, 1887-1968
    Blake, William, 1757-1827
    Graves, Robert, 1895-1985
    Huxley, Aldous, 1894-1963
    Graves, Robert, 1895-1985
    Rouault, Georges, 1871-1958
    Fawcus, Julie Hollands, 1925-2014
    Fawcus, Julie Hollands, 1925-2014