Obit for Nicolas Mcdowall

It’s difficult to understand that, there will be no more trips to visit Nicolas and Frances at Catchmays Court, Llandogo, no more beautiful volumes from The Old Stile Press. To sit in rooms with every wall covered in wonderful paintings and talk of poets and artists and the next project that Nicolas was planning. I invited Steph Mastoris, Letterpress Printer and Director of the Waterfront Museum in Swansea, to visit the Old Stile Press and meet Nicolas, it was a day to remember and take my last photograph of Nicolas.

Nicolas took great care to choose the right artist for the text or poem, and here are two examples of  how that relationship between artist, writer and publisher grew.

White Voices the story of The Childrens’ Crusade by Marcel Schwab was translated from the French by Malcolm Parr with his friend  Keith Bayliss producing the powerful woodcuts. Glenys Cour was chosen because of her friendship with the poet Vernon Watkins and his wife Gwen for both Taliesin and the Mockers and Black Marigolds, using black and white images collated from cut and torn line blocks. Many other Welsh artists were recruited over the years, including Clive Hicks-Jenkins, Bert Isaac, Roberts Macdonald, Sara Philpott and John Petts whose uninked blocks, were released from the National Library for the printing of The Laugharne Poems by Dylan Thomas.


Bernard Mitchell, 2021