Portfolio Naples August/September 2018 - Page 43

Take a walk around Newburgh, New York with Luke Pontifell, publisher of Thornwillow Press, and you will find yourself on a journey that requires one foot placed solidly in history, and the other in a modern design aesthetic. Thornwillow has collected hundreds of unique typeface specimens, many of which may not exist outside of this cabinet. Thornwillow Press was conceived in 1985, when a sixteen year old Luke Pontifell set the type by hand and printed his first book on a rented Van- dercook press, a task that took over six weeks: printing one page at a time, re- inking the press rollers every fifteen pages to keep the ink even, and then sewing the books together at his fam- ily’s kitchen table. Three decades later, Thornwillow Press has established it- self as one of the world’s finest print- ers, engravers, stationers, and publishers of limited-edition, fine press books. Newburgh is an ironically appro- priate place for this publishing house. For all that the city is struggling with urban renewal, it is a community steeped in history. It has been called “the birthplace of the republic”, be- cause it was the headquarters of the Continental Army during the Ameri- can Revolution. In the 19th century, the city’s Downing Park was designed by world-renowned landscape archi- tects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. You can see the Edison Generating Plant on Montgomery Street: built under the supervision of Thomas Edison in 1884. And of course there is the Ritz Theater on Broadway, the place where Lucille Ball made her debut, and where a young Frank Sinatra performed, backed by jazz great Tommy Dorsey and his band, and where you might have settled in to be awestruck by Ella Fitzgerald or PORTFOLIO MAGAZINE 41