Carl Ernst Poeschel

Portrait: Carl Ernst Poeschel
Carl Ernst Poeschel
Schäffer-Poeschel Verlag GmbH

Carl Ernst Poeschel

A pioneer of the book art movement

It doesn’t matter whether it (typography) is structured in a symmetrical or asymmetrical way, it doesn’t matter which type is used, as long as it is chosen correctly for the goal at hand and when the thoughts to be communicated to the reader are transmitted in the quickest and most readily comprehensible manner.

Carl Ernst Poeschel, Gegen Mechanisierung – für die Persönlichkeit. Ein offener Brief, 1933

Carl Ernst Poeschel studied book printing between 1892 and 1896 in his father’s Leipzig printing press, Poeschel & Trepte. After working as a typesetter and printer in Halle, Zwickau and Munich, and conducting a study trip to the USA, he became general manager and finally director of his father’s company. Travelling to England, he came into contact with leading English book artists, including Edward Johnston, Douglas Cockerell, Eric Gill and Sir Emery Walker. Together with the book and type designer Walter Tiemann he established the first German private press, the Janus Presse, in Leipzig in 1907. He was concerned not just with publishing books for bibliophiles but also well-designed books for everyday use. And so with five other publishers and printers he established the publishing cooperative “Der Tempel. Bund Deutscher Verleger GmbH” (“The Temple. Association of German Publishers”), which was dedicated to making German classics accessible to a wide readership at reasonable prices.

The Poeschel & Trepte offizin became one of Germany’s leading printers in the first half of the 20th century, with high quality printing techniques and materials produced to bibliophile standards. It was in high demand from publishers with an interest in quality book design, as well as bibliophile organisations. Insel, Eugen Diederich, Julius Zeitler, S. Fischer and Georg Müller numbered among the former, while the latter included such organisations as the Society of Bibliophiles, the Leipzig Bibliophile Evening and the Maximilian Society.