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Printer's Devil

Started by Mechanic, February 27, 2012, 03:44:11 AM

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I was watching a show on TV about the great southeast of Queensland. Part of the show covered heritage listed buildings and the interesting facades that many of them have. One of the buildings, completed in 1910, was the old Queensland Government Printing Office . It appears that when the architect was given instructions for the design of the building he was told to include some "Printer's Devils" as features on the buildings facade. The sculptor's interpretation of a printer's devil is interesting.  Grahame Readshaw, who illustrated a book including the building titled "Looking UP and Looking Back" was  interviewed and he said the devils were based on politicians of the day.

Quote from the Queensland Heritage Register
QuoteThese include two freestanding devils on the parapet above the main entrance and a relief carved devil's head, directly above the entrance. Traditionally, devils are a symbol of the printing trade, generally accepted as representing printer's apprentices. These details were sculpted by well known Sydney sculptor, William P MacIntosh.

I found a good Photo on flicker of one on the parapet.

Printer's devil by play4smee, on Flickr

Here is one above the entrance
Click images for larger view

Here is and old photo taken in 1921

Photo caption
Interior view of the Government Printer's office. A large desk, overflowing with papers, stands in the middle of the room. A safe is positioned against a wall to the side of the desk. On top of the safe is a stonework devil, identical in style to the two gargoyle statues that are perched over the entrance to the building. Various prints have been stuck on the walls of the office.
George Finn (Mechanic)
Gold Coast

Dave Hughes

The city of York in the UK (where Metal Type is based) also has a printers devil.

Situated on the corner of Stonegate and Coffee Yard, the devil is near where York's first newspaper was published.

It is said to be unlucky to look it in the eye!

York Printers' Devil by Thadius Strangepants, on Flickr
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Dave Hughes

I sound like I'm doing my bit for the York Tourist Board here, but just round the corner from the printer's devil in Stonegate is this statue of Minerva, and her owl, with a pile of books.

Minerva, High Petergate and Minster Gates, York

Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom, sits on the corner of Minster Gates and High Petergate, leaning on a pile of bookswith an owl, to advertise the bookseller's shop below, where authors and literary readers met as members of one of Britain's earliest book groups.


Minerva, High Petergate and Minster Gates, York by mira66, on Flickr
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