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Richard-Gabriel Rummonds (b.1931)
Port Townsend, OR: Ex Ophidia Press, 2015

Richard-Gabriel Rummonds is recognized as one of the world’s pre-eminent handpress printers of the late twentieth century. For nearly twenty-five 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’ work has been exhibited in Rome, New York, and San Francisco. In 1999, a retrospective exhibition of his work was held at the Biblioteca di via Senato in Milan, Italy. His books are held in museums, libraries and private collections worldwide.

Rummonds was appointed founding director of the MFA in the Book Arts Program at the University of Alabama in 1984. He has taught workshops around the world, including the University of Utah.

Fantasies & Hard Knocks, “embellished with over 450 images [most in color] and 65 recipes,” is a candid autobiography chronicling the printing and publishing of Rummonds’ pieces issued with Plain Wrapper Press and Ex Ophidia imprints.

In 1966, Rummonds founded Plain Wrapper Press in Quito, Ecuador, moving it to Verona, Italy in 1970, where he mastered his craft on nineteenth-century handpresses and established a worldwide reputation for excellent fine press productions. In 1982, Rummonds established Ex Ophidia in Cottondale, Alabama.


His memoir is filled with deeply personal anecdotes of working closely with many of the most acclaimed and renowned authors and artists of the time, including Jorge Luis Borges, Anthony Burgess, Italo Calvino, C. F. Cavafy, John Cheever, Brendan Gill, Dana Gioia, Jack Spicer, Paul Zweig, Arnaldo Pomodoro, Fulvio Testa, R. B. Kitaj and others.


Rare Books, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library holds a significant archive of the works, library, and ephemera of Richard-Gabriel Rummonds.