Barbarian Press is a publisher of hand-crafted, limited edition letterpress books.
CRISPIN & JAN ELSTED founded BARBARIAN PRESS in Kent, England, in 1977. In 1978 they relocated to Mission, B.C., where the press has been active ever since. Barbarian Press is a private press devoted to the publication of poetry, translations, classics of literature in English, books on books, and books on (and with) wood engravings. The books are produced exclusively by letterpress, using hand-set type, and are hand bound. The printing is done by Jan, the design and typesetting by Crispin; the editorial decisions are shared.
The press has an international reputation, and has won seven Alcuin Society design awards and two Judge’s Awards at the Oxford Fine Press Fair. In 1997 it was the subject of a month-long retrospective exhibition at the National Library of Canada in Ottawa. The press was also featured as a prominent part of the exhibition on Canadian private presses, A Death Greatly Exaggerated: Canada’s Thriving Small and Fine Press, at the Fisher Library, University of Toronto, in 2015. Barbarian Press celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2017, in honour of which it published Ursus typographicus: A Chronology of Bears, chronicling the 20 pressmarks which have been created for the press by many leading wood engravers, including Simon Brett, Barry Moser, and Gerard Brender a Brandis. Presently in the press is a major book on the Curwen Press, Bordering on the Sublime.
In 2015, Jan and Crispin Elsted were given the Robert R. Reid Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Book Arts in Canada.