‘The Jabberwock with eyes of flame
Came whiffling through the fulgey wood
And burbled as it came!’
‘Praesens ecce! Oculis eui fera flamma micat
Ipse Gaberbocchus dumeta per horrida sifflans
Ibat, et horrendum burbuliabat iens!’
(Latin version by Lewis Carroll’s uncle, Hassard Dodgson)
In 1948, the Gaberbocchus Press was founded by Stefan and Franciszka Themerson. The Gaberbocchus Press is based on the unique partnership between them. The earliest books were printed at their home in London.
From 1957 to 1959 the basement Gaberbocchus Press office was turned into the Gaberbocchus Common Room, a meeting place for those interested in art and science. The Common Room was used for numerous discussions, film shows, plays and poetry readings. In 31 years the Gaberbocchus Press published over sixty titles, including works by Alfred Jarry, Kurt Schwitters, Bertrand Russell and the Themersons themselves. Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi became one of the most celebrated books and was published in many editions.
The content of Stefan Themerson’s own books remains timeless and absorbing. The topics he wrote about are language, ethics, freedom, human dignity and the importance of decency. As art director Franciszka created illustrations for nearly all Gaberbocchus titles. The design of the books varies enormously, but all are visually seductive. The Themersons constantly experimented with the relation between text and image.
At their request the Gaberbocchus Press was taken over in 1979 by the Dutch publishing house Uitgeverij De Harmonie.