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When Is A Box A Bonnet?

Original E-type bonnet design

One of the most satisfying aspects of Porter Press is coming up with increasingly creative and off-the-wall ideas for our special editions. 

Unique Edition of 9600 HP book

For a number of years now, we have had a superb professional relationship with Paul Kidson and his fine company, Ludlow Bookbinders. Abigail Humphries joined our company some 15 years ago and heads up Media and Design. An Honours degree photographer, she is also a painter. Traditionally, the three of us brainstorm ideas, assisted by other colleagues from time to time.

Some months ago, Abi and I visited Paul at 4.30 for a quick chat. We left at 7.30! Such is his passion for what he does and our enthusiasm, it was a very stimulating session with Paul showing us a wide variety of stunning creations for his various international clients.

In another such visit by Abi, the two of them had the madcap idea of creating something very different for the 9600 HP Unique Edition. When they told me the outline idea, I was immediately on board. 

We have used clamshell boxes before but this one was going to be very different. For a start, instead of opening conventionally, like a portrait book, Abi and I decided this one had to open lengthways, just like an E-type bonnet.

E-type bonnet

To sit atop this, the plan was to have the distinctive bonnet bulge. But what material to make it of? A prototype was carved in wood and then our newest colleague Wayne had the idea of 3D printing. I emailed good friend Julian Barratt of SNG Barratt which not only sells thousands of parts but also manufactures a great many in-house. He immediately got it. Wayne's sketch was turned into a 3D model by the team at SNG Barratt, and the machine was set to print that weekend. The result? Brilliant.

9600 HP Collector's Edition

Meanwhile, we had sourced panels of louvres. Paul’s craftsmen got to work. The box was made, the bulge affixed and the whole covered in a gunmetal shade of lovely leather, apart from the area where the louvres were let in, just like the very early E-type bonnets which had separate louvre panels. To complete, a number plate was created in a combination of white and black leather. Superb.

What fun! What a team. We love it and hope you will too.

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