Rock & Co

From Historical Hastings


The London publisher Rock & Co. was founded by William Frederick Rock (1801-1890). In the second quarter of the 19th century Rock had gone into business with Thomas de la Rue and this was to last until around 1833 when Rock had made enough money to set up a printing business with his brothers and future brother-in-law and De la Rue is today an internationally recognised firm of banknote and postage stamp printers still specialising in engraving techniques. By the middle of the 19th century Rock & Co. had achieved prominence as a prolific publisher of steel engraved vignette images, producing views for a large number of other localities, not just Hastings and St Leonards. These illustrations were published in the form of cards, fancy stationery, and books and booklets and the were usually numbered and dated within the border of the engraving. Production of books of steel line-engraved vignettes was to endure until about 1880, to be replaced by a newer technology and for a while Rock & Co published albums using the “leporello” process. Rock retired in 1884 and died in 1890 when his collections were left to the North Devon Athenæum.[1]

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