Publisher and Historian of Book Illustration
David Farrant Bland (1911–1970) was educated at Monkton Combe School near Bath and at Bristol University. While still at school he became interested in printing. In the basement of his fathers vicarage he set up with Vivian Ridler (the future Printer to the University of Oxford) a small press, which they later named the Perpetua Press after the typeface designed by Eric Gill that appeared in 1929. They began printing small books in 1931. Bland joined the staff of Faber & Faber in 1937. In 1938 Vivian Ridler wed Anne Bradby (1912–2001), who had started work at Fabers in 1935 in the production department, later moved to be T.S. Eliots secretary, and became a poet in her own right. It was also at Fabers that Bland met Mary Elmore Jones, whom he married in 1947.
Bland had met George Adamson while training in the RAF during the war. Both men were on the Number One Course, B.C.F.T.S. at Dallas Aviation School,
Inc., Love Field, Dallas, Texas, from June 2nd to July 22nd, 1941, being in the first batch of fifty men from Great Britain to receive special flying
instruction at civilian training schools in the United States. Both men later served as navigators: Bland in Bomber Command and Adamson in Coastal
Command. After being shot down over Germany Bland was imprisoned in Stalag Luft III, the Luftwaffe-run prisoner-of-war camp. Bland returned to
Fabers as head of production and in 1954 became a director. As author of The Illustration of Books (Faber, 1951) and of A History of
Book Illustration: The Illuminated Manuscript and the Printed Book (Faber, 1958) he was soon regarded as a leading authority on book illustration.
He revised and edited Simon Olivers Introduction to Typography (Faber, 1963). See David Blands article on the
Perpetua Press in The Private Library, second series, vol. 312, summer 1970; see his obituary in The Times of January
23rd, 1970; see also Anne Ridlers booklet Working for T.S. Eliot: A Personal Remembrance (Enitharmon Press, 2000).