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A small publisher of beautiful books is the talk of the town among New York bibliophiles

by Stefano Salis

It's not common for Italian publishers to gain the spotlight in New York. Yet it happened twice lately. First with a presentation at the Zerilli Marimò Foundation's Italian House, of publisher and typographer Tallone's activities. And then at the Grolier Club, perhaps the most exclusive circle of bibliophiles in the world, where a book from the same publishing house, “12 Poems “ by Alfredo De Palchi and illustrated with watercolors by Fulvio Testa, was also presented.

The fact that a small publisher and typographer like Tallone gets so much attention might surprise you, but only to a certain point. The print house in Alpignano, near Turin, is a mecca for bibliophiles from all over the world. Here, Enrico Tallone skillfully continues the craft that his father Alberto learned in his legendary years in Paris, as the apprentice to great typographer Maurice Darantiere.

Tallone brought that experience back to Italy, imparting it in unique artifacts that still celebrate the beauty of the book as an object, as well as a carrier of important texts.
The design of Tallone's editions, each sporting an original typographical architecture, became famous for the quality of its print, the relevance of the published works, the elegant layouts, the slender formats, the exclusive characters from hand-crafted stamps, the valuable and exotic paper sheets in pure cotton that last through the centuries.
The books are numbered and printed in limited edition on the best cotton paper. Moreover, the most exclusive ones are printed on especially fine paper, hand-made in Europe, China and Japan.

Books published by Tallone are entirely handmade, using characters from original stamps carved by great artists such as Nicholas Kis (1650-1702), William Caslon (1693-1766) and, in the Twentieth Century, Henri Parmentier and Charles Malin, who gave letterpress printing a fascination and expressive power that is close to that of calligraphy, able to enhance the book's content.

In New York, Enrico's daughters Elisa and Eleonora, who already actively take part in the development of the publishing house, presented the Typographic Manual, devoted to the aesthetics of paper, watermarks and inks, showing the public precious antique watermarks from the Fifteenth Century and the most beautiful paper sheets from the Twentieth Century.

New Yorkers also had a chance to watch the documentary film “The Craft of the Book,” which shows Tallone's 1700s typographical studio at work. It is the oldest functioning typographical studio in the world, featuring the largest collection of original characters.

The art of printing is an Italian excellence that is acknowledged internationally and that continues to attract visitors from all over the world to Alpignano. If you drop by, you'll get a chance to visit an enchanted typography shop from the old days, where everything is done with accuracy, artistry and passion, just as in the best Made in Italy products.