Mark E. Fischer

Mark E. Fischer

Mark founded the Stamperia Ponte Pietra in Verona, Italy, in 1976 at age 14. He had started learning the art of handprinting and fine-press publishing from the noted fine book maker, Gabriel Rummonds (founder of Plain Wrapper Press), as soon as his family had moved to Verona in 1973. By the time he matriculated at Harvard College in 1980, his press had published four editions, which had already been collected by Harvard’s rare-book Houghton Library (as well as by several other rare-book collections in the US). These were Marsh Marigolds (in English), L’Indovinello Veronese (in Italian), Blue (in English and French), and Est Modus in Rebus (in Latin, Ancient Greek, English and Italian). Fischer had studied these languages while attending the Liceo Classico Maffei in Verona. At Harvard, Fischer studied descriptive bibliography, Latin, Ancient Greek, and French, and he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. Mark has recently re-launched the venerable Plain Wrapper Press as Plain Wrapper Press Redux. The mission remains to print and publish among the most beautiful books in the world, rich in high-quality text and artwork, and designed, printed, and bound by hand with exacting craftmanship and the finest materials.

Gabriel Rummonds
Photo by Weldon DeBusk

Gabriel Rummonds

Book collectors worldwide acknowledge Gabriel as one of the world’s pre-eminent handpress printers of the late Twentieth Century. For almost 25 years, using the imprints of Plain Wrapper Press and Ex Ophidia, he printed and published illustrated limited editions of contemporary literature on iron handpresses, primarily in Verona, Italy, and Cottondale, Alabama. Rummonds has had several exhibitions of his work in Rome, New York, San Francisco, and Verona, culminating with a major retrospective exhibition held at the Biblioteca di Via Senato in Milan, Italy, in 1999. Many of the world’s most famous museums (including The Museum of Modern Art and The Whitney Museum of American Art) and libraries (including the rare-book libraries of Harvard University, Princeton University, Stanford University, The University of Georgia, The University of Oregon, and The University of Texas), as well as numerous private collections of fine printing, house his books.. The University of Alabama appointed Rummonds the founding director of its MFA in the Book Arts Program in 1984. Several of his students have become prominent fine-press printers. Rummonds has authored four trade books on printing on iron handpresses. His papers and archives are collected at various prestigious locations, with the majority housed at the Manuscripts and Archives Division, at The New York Public Library.