The History of Addison Publications

Addison Publications - Addison’s founding partners Nigel Frith and Henrietta Pearson began working together at the respected Alecto Historical Editions more than 30 years ago.

Addison Publications

Whilst at Alecto, Frith and Pearson worked on some of the foremost print projects of the time including most notably the Banks’ Florilegium in association with The Natural History Museum.

This seminal project involved printing from Joseph Banks’ original copper plates and achieved significant accolade, including being described by the French press as 'Le livre du siecle'.

It marks the point where Frith and Pearson commenced developing their unique skills for creating beautiful fine art publications.

Domesday Book

Further prestigious publications followed, including a facsimile of William the Conqueror’s nine-hundred year survey of England, the Domesday Book, which was bound by hand. In 2003 Frith and Pearson launched their own publishing house with the goal of bringing the very best in overseas and British rare and unusual fine art books to the British market.

Fine art facsimiles of famous manuscripts

Today Addison offers a wide selection of fine art facsimiles of famous manuscripts to clients around the world, including The Book of Kells, The Lindisfarne Gospels and The Bedford Hours. In 2007 the company was honoured to be invited to create an exclusive publication of botanical paintings depicting plants and trees growing in the garden of the private royal residence, Highgrove, in Gloucestershire.


The Highgrove Florilegium

The Highgrove Florilegium is the first British royal florilegium and features the work of 75 of the world’s renowned botanical artists. The exquisite first edition two-volume set is limited to 175 copies, very few of which remain unallocated, and feature a preface and personal signature from HRH The Prince of Wales.

Addison continues to focus on widening its natural history portfolio and in 2014 launched a small hand-bound limited edition of Mark Catesby's pioneering masterpiece The Natural History of Carolina, Florida & the Bahama Islands, which met with industry acclaim.

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The Transylvania Florilegium

New publications include a limited edition Transylvania Florilegium with  HRH The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation once again.

Traditional Craftsmanship

Despite an increasingly digital world, Addison enjoys a significant following of institutional libraries, museums and private collectors from around the world who are similarly devoted to culturally important fine art publications created using traditional craftsmanship.

Mark Catesby’s Natural History of Carolina, Florida & the Bahama Islands

The first illustrated record of the flora and fauna of North America – Catesby’s distinguished masterpiece The Natural History of Carolina, Florida & the Bahama Islands – has been reproduced as a limited edition and marks the 300th anniversary of the arrival in 1712 of naturalist and artist Mark Catesby in the New World.

How our books are made

For discerning clients the fascination of owning a beautiful handcrafted book lies partly in understanding how it was made.

Here we break down the key steps in the creation process.


Our artwork is derived from the most talented fine artists around the world. For our limited edition botanical publications we use contemporary artists showcased by the likes of Shirley Sherwood, whose Gallery of Botanical Art at the famous Kew Gardens is the only purpose-designed gallery of its kind dedicated exclusively to botanical art.

Once the artwork and supporting text have been created, the next part of the important first stage falls under the direction of typographic craftsmen, who decide the format of the publication and plan the layout of the text and images in minute detail.

Text Illustration

Handmade books have traditionally always had ornamental head and tail pieces as well as illustrated end papers, which form one of the great attractions of early works decorated by hand and help harmonise the style of the book.

For this purpose we use the services of artist and illustrator Richard Shirley Smith.

  • More information

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