The Kelmscott Press

Portrait

Biographical note

The Kelmscott Press was founded by William Morris in January 1891, at Hammersmith, London, in order to produce books by traditional methods, using, as far as possible, the printing technology and typographical style of the fifteenth century. In this he was reflecting the tenets of the Arts and Crafts movement, and responding to the mechanisation and mass-production of contemporary book-production methods and to the rise of lithography, particularly those lithographic prints designed to look like woodcuts.

He designed two typefaces based on fifteenth-century models, the Roman "Golden" type (inspired by the type of the early Venetian printer Nicolaus Jenson) and the black letter "Troy" type; a third type, the "Chaucer" was a smaller version of the Troy type. He also designed floriated borders and initials for the books, drawing inspiration from incunabula and their woodcut illustrations. Selection of paper and ink, and concerns for the overall integration of type and decorations on the page, made the Kelmscott Press the most famous of the private presses of the Arts and Crafts movement, and the main inspiration for what became known as the "Private Press Movement". It operated until 1898, producing more than 18,000 copies of 53 different works, comprising 69 volumes, and inspired numerous other private presses, notably the Vale Press, Caradoc Press, Ashendene Press and Doves Press.

The Kelmscott Press edition of The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, with decorations by Morris and illustrations by Burne-Jones, is sometimes counted among the most beautiful books ever produced.

Works published by the Press

  • 1. The Story of the Glittering Plain. Which has Been Also Called the Land of Living Men or The Acre of the Undying. Written by William Morris. Small 4to. Golden type. Border 1. 200 paper copies at two guineas, and 6 on vellum. Dated April 4, issued May 8, 1891. Sold by Reeves & Turner. Bound in stiff vellum with washleather ties.

    This book was set up from Nos. 81-4 of the English Illustrated Magazine, in which it first appeared; some of the chapter headings were re-arranged, and a few small corrections were made in the text. A trial page, the first printed at the Press, was struck off on January 31, 1891, but the first sheet was not printed until about a month later. The border was designed in January of the same year, and engraved by W. H. Hooper. Mr. Morris had four of the vellum copies bound in green vellum, three of which he gave to friends. Only two copies on vellum were sold, at twelve and fifteen guineas. This was the only book with washleather ties. All the other vellum-bound books have silk ties, except Shelley’s Poems and Hand and Soul, which have no ties.

  • 2. Poems by the Way. Written by William Morris. Small 4to. Golden type. In black and red. Border 1. 300 paper copies at two guineas, 13 on vellum at about twelve guineas. Dated Sept. 24, issued Oct. 20, 1891. Sold by Reeves & Turner. Bound in stiff vellum.

    This was the first book printed at the Kelmscott Press in two colours, and the first book in which the smaller printer’s mark appeared. After The Glittering Plain was finished, at the beginning of April, no printing was done until May 11. In the meanwhile the compositors were busy setting up the early sheets of The Golden Legend. The printing of Poems by the Way, which its author first thought of calling Flores Atramenti, was not begun until July. The poems in it were written at various times. In the manuscript, Hafbur and Signy is dated February 4, 1870; Hildebrand and Hillilel, March 1, 1871; and Love’s Reward, Kelmscott, April 21, 1871. Meeting in Winter is a song from The Story of Orpheus, an unpublished poem intended for The Earthly Paradise. The last poem in the book, Goldilocks and Goldilocks, was written on May 20, 1891, for the purpose of adding to the bulk of the volume, which was then being prepared. A few of the vellum covers were stained at Merton red, yellow, indigo, and dark green, but the experiment was not successful.

  • 3. The Love-Lyrics and Songs of Proteus by Wilfrid Scawen Blunt with the Love-Sonnets of Proteus by the Same Author Now Reprinted in Their Full Text with Many Sonnets Omitted from the Earlier Editions. London MDCCCXCII. Small 4to. Golden type. In black and red. Border 1. 300 paper copies at two guineas, none on vellum. Dated Jan. 26, issued Feb. 27, 1892. Sold by Reeves & Turner. Bound in stiff vellum.

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    This is the only book in which the initials are printed in red. This was done by the author’s wish.

  • 4. The Nature of Gothic a Chapter of the Stones of Venice. By John Ruskin. With a preface by William Morris. Small 4to. Golden type. Border 1. Diagrams in text. 500 paper copies at thirty shillings, none on vellum. Dated in preface February 15, issued March 22, 1892. Published by George Allen. Bound in stiff vellum.

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    This chapter of the Stones of Venice, which Ruskin always considered the most important in the book, was first printed separately in 1854 as a sixpenny pamphlet. Mr. Morris paid more than one tribute to it in Hopes and Fears for Art. Of him Ruskin said in 1887, ‘Morris is beaten gold.’

  • 5. The Defence of Guenevere, and Other Poems. By William Morris. Small 4to. Golden type. In black and red. Borders 2 and 1. 300 paper copies at two guineas, ten on vellum at about twelve guineas. Dated April 2, issued May 19, 1892. Sold by Reeves & Turner. Bound in limp vellum.

    This book was set up from a copy of the edition published by Reeves & Turner in 1889, the only alteration, except a few corrections, being in the 11th line of Summer Dawn. It is divided into three parts, the poems suggested by Malory’s Morte d’Arthur, the poems inspired by Froissart’s Chronicles, and poems on various subjects. The two first sections have borders, and the last has a half-border. The first sheet was printed on February 17, 1892. It was the first book bound in limp vellum, and the only one of which the title was inscribed by hand on the back.

  • 6. A Dream of John Ball and a King’s Lesson. By William Morris. Small 4to. Golden type. In black and red. Borders 3a, 4, and 2. With a woodcut designed by Sir E. Burne-Jones. 300 paper copies at thirty shillings, eleven on vellum at ten guineas. Dated May 13, issued Sept. 24, 1892. Sold by Reeves & Turner. Bound in limp vellum.

    This was set up with a few alterations from a copy of Reeves & Turner’s third edition, and the printing was begun on April 4, 1892. The frontispiece was redrawn from that to the first edition, and engraved on wood by W. H. Hooper, who engraved all Sir E. Burne-Jones’ designs for the Kelmscott Press, except those for The Wood beyond the World and The Life and Death of Jason. The inscription below the figures, and the narrow border, were designed by Mr. Morris, and engraved with the picture on one block, which was afterwards used on a leaflet printed for the Ancoats Brotherhood in February, 1894.

  • 7. The Golden Legend. By Jacobus de Voragine. Translated by William Caxton. Edited by F. S. Ellis. 3 vols. Large 4to. Golden type. Borders 5a, 5, 6a, and 7. Woodcut title and two woodcuts designed by Sir E. Burne-Jones. 500 paper copies at five guineas, none on vellum. Dated Sept. 12, issued Nov. 3, 1892. Published by Bernard Quaritch. Bound in half-holland, with paper labels printed in the Troy type.

    In July, 1890, when only a few letters of the Golden type had been cut, Mr. Morris bought a copy of this book, printed by Wynkyn de Worde in 1527. He soon afterwards determined to print it, and on Sept. 11 entered into a formal agreement with Mr. Quaritch for its publication. It was only an unforeseen difficulty about the size of the first stock of paper that led to The Golden Legend not being the first book put in hand. It was set up from a transcript of Caxton’s first edition, lent by the Syndics of the Cambridge University Library for the purpose. A trial page was got out in March, 1891, and 50 pages were in type by May 11, the day on which the first sheet was printed. The first volume was finished, with the exception of the illustrations and the preliminary matter, in Oct., 1891. The two illustrations and the title (which was the first woodcut title designed by Mr. Morris) were not engraved until June and August, 1892, when the third volume was approaching completion. About half a dozen impressions of the illustrations were pulled on vellum. A slip asking owners of the book not to have it bound with pressure, nor to have the edges cut instead of merely trimmed, was inserted in each copy.

  • 8. The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye. By Raoul Lefevre. Translated by William Caxton. Edited by H. Halliday Sparling. 2 vols. Large 4to. Troy type, with table of chapters and glossary in Chaucer type. In black and red. Borders 5a, 5, and 8. Woodcut title. 300 paper copies at nine guineas, five on vellum at eighty pounds. Dated Oct. 14, issued Nov. 24, 1892. Published by Bernard Quaritch. Bound in limp vellum.

    This book, begun in February, 1892, is the first book printed in Troy type, and the first in which Chaucer type appears. It is a reprint of the first book printed in English. It had long been a favourite with William Morris, who designed a great quantity of initials and ornaments for it, and wrote the following note for Mr. Quaritch’s catalogue: ‘As to the matter of the book, it makes a thoroughly amusing story, instinct with mediæval thought and manners. For though written at the end of the Middle Ages and dealing with classical mythology, it has in it no token of the coming Renaissance, but is merely mediæval. It is the last issue of that story of Troy which through the whole of the Middle Ages had such a hold on men’s imaginations; the story built up from a rumour of the Cyclic Poets, of the heroic City of Troy, defended by Priam and his gallant sons, led by Hector the Preux Chevalier, and beset by the violent and brutal Greeks, who were looked on as the necessary machinery for bringing about the undeniable tragedy of the fall of the city. Surely this is well worth reading, if only as a piece of undiluted mediævalism.’ 2000 copies of a 4to announcement, with specimen pages, were printed at the Kelmscott Press in December, 1892, for distribution by the publisher.

  • 9. Biblia Innocentium: Being the Story of God’s Chosen People Before the Coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ Upon Earth, written Anew for Children by J. W. Mackail, Sometime Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford. 8vo. Golden Type. Border 2. 200 on paper at a guinea, none on vellum. Dated Oct. 22, issued Dec. 9, 1892. Sold by Reeves & Turner. Bound in stiff vellum.

    This was the last book issued in stiff vellum except Hand and Soul, and the last with untrimmed edges. It was the first book printed in 8vo.

  • 10. The History of Reynard the Foxe by William Caxton. Reprinted from his edition of 1481. Edited by H. Halliday Sparling. Large 4to. Troy type, with glossary in Chaucer type. In black and red. Borders 5a and 7. Woodcut title. 300 on paper at three guineas, 10 on vellum at fifteen guineas. Dated Dec. 15, 1892, issued Jan. 25, 1893. Published by Bernard Quaritch. Bound in limp vellum.

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    About this book, which was first announced as in the press in the list dated July, 1892, William Morris wrote the following note for Mr. Quaritch’s catalogue: ‘This translation of Caxton’s is one of the very best of his works as to style; and being translated from a kindred tongue is delightful as mere language. In its rude joviality, and simple and direct delineation of character, it is a thoroughly good representative of the famous ancient Beast Epic.’ The edges of this book, and of all subsequent books, were trimmed in accordance with the invariable practice of the early printers. Mr. Morris much preferred the trimmed edges.

    Based on a Dutch prose rendering of Reinaerts historie, a 14th century recension and continuation of Reinaert de Vos.

  • 11. The Poems of William Shakespeare, Printed After the Original Copies of Venus and Adonis, 1593. The Rape of Lucrece, 1594. Sonnets, 1609. The Lover’s Complaint. Edited by F. S. Ellis. 8vo. Golden type. In black and red. Borders 1 and 2. 500 paper copies at 25 shillings, 10 on vellum at ten guineas. Dated Jan. 17, issued Feb. 13, 1893. Sold by Reeves & Turner. Bound in limp vellum.

    A trial page of this book was set up on Nov. 1, 1892. Though the number was large, this has become one of the rarest books issued from the Press.

  • 12. News from Nowhere: Or, an Epoch of Rest, Being Some Chapters from a Utopian Romance, by William Morris. 8vo. Golden type. In black and red. Borders 9a and 4, and a woodcut engraved by W. H. Hooper from a design by C. M. Gere. 300 on paper at two guineas, 10 on vellum at ten guineas. Dated Nov. 22, 1892, issued March 24, 1893. Sold by Reeves & Turner. Bound in limp vellum.

    The text of this book was printed before Shakespeare’s Poems and Sonnets, but it was kept back for the frontispiece, which is a picture of the old manor-house in the village of Kelmscott by the upper Thames, from which the Press took its name. It was set up from a copy of one of Reeves & Turner’s editions, and in reading it for the press the author made a few slight corrections. It was the last except the Savonarola (No. 31) in which he used the old paragraph mark which was discarded in favour of the leaves, which had already been used in the two large 4to books printed in the Troy type.

  • 13. The Order of Chivalry. Translated from the French by William Caxton and reprinted from his edition of 1484. Edited by F. S. Ellis. And L’Ordene de Chevalerie, with Translation by William Morris. Small 4to. Chaucer type, in black and red. Borders 9a and 4, and a woodcut designed by Sir Edward Burne-Jones. 225 on paper at thirty shillings, 10 on vellum at ten guineas. The Order of Chivalry dated Nov. 10, 1892, L’Ordene de Chevalerie dated February 24, 1893, issued April 12, 1893. Sold by Reeves & Turner. Bound in limp vellum.

    This was the last book printed in small 4to. The last section is in 8vo. It was the first book printed in Chaucer type. The reprint from Caxton was finished while News from Nowhere was in the press, and before Shakespeare’s Poems and Sonnets was begun. The French poem and its translation were added as an after-thought, and have a separate colophon. Some of the three-line initials, which were designed for The Well at the World’s End, are used in the French poem, and this is their first appearance. The translation was begun on Dec. 3, 1892, and the border round the frontispiece was designed on Feb. 13, 1893.

  • 14. The Life of Thomas Wolsey, Cardinal Archbishop of York, written by George Cavendish. Edited by F. S. Ellis from the author’s autograph MS. 8vo. Golden type. Border 1. 250 on paper at two guineas, 6 on vellum at ten guineas. Dated March 30, issued May 3, 1893. Sold by Reeves & Turner. Bound in limp vellum.

  • 15. The History of Godefrey of Boloyne and of the Conquest of Iherusalem. Reprinted from Caxton’s edition of 1481. Edited by H. Halliday Sparling. Large 4to. Troy type, with list of chapter headings and glossary in Chaucer type. In black and red. Borders 5a and 5, and woodcut title. 300 on paper at six guineas, 6 on vellum at 20 guineas. Dated April 27, issued May 24, 1893. Published by William Morris at the Kelmscott Press. Bound in limp vellum.

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    This was the fifth and last of the Caxton reprints, with many new ornaments and initials, and a new printer’s mark. It was first announced as in the press in the list dated Dec., 1892. It was the first book published and sold at the Kelmscott Press. An announcement and order form, with two different specimen pages, was printed at the Press, besides a special invoice. A few copies were bound in half holland, not for sale.

    Historia rerum in partibus transmarinis gestarum. By William, of Tyre, Archbishop of Tyre, ca. 1130-ca. 1190.

  • 16. Utopia, written by Sir Thomas More. A reprint of the 2nd edition of Ralph Robinson’s translation, with a foreword by William Morris. Edited by F. S. Ellis. 8vo. Chaucer type, with the reprinted title in Troy type. In black and red. Borders 4 and 2. 300 on paper at thirty shillings, 8 on vellum at ten guineas. Dated August 4, issued September 8, 1893. Sold by Reeves & Turner. Bound in limp vellum.

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    This book was first announced as in the press in the list dated May 20, 1893.

  • 17. Maud, a Monodrama. By Alfred Lord Tennyson. 8vo. Golden type. In black and red. Borders 10a and 10, and woodcut title. 500 on paper at two guineas, 5 on vellum not for sale. Dated Aug. 11, issued Sept. 30, 1893. Published by Macmillan & Co. Bound in limp vellum.

    The borders were specially designed for this book. They were both used again in the Keats, and one of them appears in The Sundering Flood. It is the first of the 8vo books with a woodcut title.

  • 18. Gothic Architecture: A Lecture for the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, by William Morris. 16mo. Golden type. In black and red. 1500 on paper at two shillings and sixpence, 45 on vellum at ten and fifteen shillings. Bound in half holland.

    This lecture was set up at Hammersmith and printed at the New Gallery during the Arts and Crafts Exhibition in October and November, 1893. The first copies were ready on October 21, and the book was twice reprinted before the Exhibition closed. It was the first book printed in 16mo. The four-line initials used in it appear here for the first time. The vellum copies were sold during the Exhibition at ten shillings, and the price was subsequently raised to fifteen shillings.

  • 19. Sidonia the Sorceress, by William Meinhold, Translated by Francesca Speranza Lady Wilde. Large 4to. Golden type. In black and red. Border 8. 300 paper copies at four guineas, 10 on vellum at twenty guineas. Dated Sept. 15, issued November 1, 1893. Published by William Morris. Bound in limp vellum.

    Before the publication of this book a large 4to announcement and order form was issued, with a specimen page and an interesting description of the book and its author, written and signed by William Morris. Some copies were bound in half holland, not for sale.

  • 20. Ballads and Narrative Poems by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. 8vo. Golden type. In black and red. Borders 4a and 4, and woodcut title. 310 on paper at two guineas, 6 on vellum at ten guineas. Dated Oct. 14, issued in November, 1893. Published by Ellis & Elvey. Bound in limp vellum.

    This book was announced as in preparation in the list of August 1, 1893.

    Sonnets and Lyrical Poems by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. 8vo. Golden type. In black and red. Borders 1a and 1, and woodcut title. 310 on paper at two guineas, 6 on vellum at ten guineas. Dated Feb. 20, issued April 21, 1894. Published by Ellis & Elvey. Bound in limp vellum.

    This book is uniform with No. 20, to which it forms a sequel. Both volumes were read for the press by Mr. W. M. Rossetti.

  • 21. The Tale of King Florus and the Fair Jehane. Translated by William Morris from the French of the 13th century. 16mo. Chaucer type. In black and red. Borders 11a and 11, and woodcut title. 350 on paper at seven shillings and sixpence, 15 on vellum at thirty shillings. Dated Dec. 16, issued Dec. 28, 1893. Published by William Morris. Bound in half holland.

    This story, like the three other translations with which it is uniform, was taken from a little volume called Nouvelles Françoises en prose du XIIIe siècle. Paris, Jannet, 1856. They were first announced as in preparation under the heading ‘French Tales’ in the list dated May 20, 1893. Eighty-five copies of King Florus were bought by J. and M. L. Tregaskis, who had them bound in all parts of the world. These are now in the Rylands Library at Manchester.

  • 22. The Story of the Glittering Plain which has Been Also Called the Land of Living Men or the Acre of the Undying. written by William Morris. Large 4to. Troy type, with list of chapters in Chaucer type. In black and red. Borders 12a and 12, 23 designs by Walter Crane, engraved by A. Leverett, and a woodcut title. 250 on paper at five guineas, 7 on vellum at twenty pounds. Dated Jan. 13, issued Feb. 17, 1894. Published by William Morris. Bound in limp vellum.

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    Neither the borders in this book nor six out of the seven frames round the illustrations appear in any other book. The seventh is used round the second picture in Love is Enough. A few copies were bound in half holland.

  • 23. Of the Friendship of Amis and Amile. Done out of the ancient French by William Morris. 16mo. Chaucer type. In black and red. Borders 11a and 11, and woodcut title. 500 on paper at seven shillings and sixpence, 15 on vellum at thirty shillings. Dated March 13, issued April 4, 1894. Published by William Morris. Bound in half holland.

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    A poem entitled Amys and Amillion, founded on this story, was originally to have appeared in the second volume of The Earthly Paradise, but, like some other poems announced at the same time, it was not included in the book.

  • 24. The Poems of John Keats. Edited by F. S. Ellis. 8vo. Golden type. In black and red. Borders 10a and 10, and woodcut title. 300 on paper at thirty shillings, 7 on vellum at nine guineas. Dated March 7, issued May 8, 1894. Published by William Morris. Bound in limp vellum.

    This is now (Jan., 1898) the most sought after of all the smaller Kelmscott Press books. It was announced as in preparation in the lists of May 27 and August 1, 1893, and as in the press in that of March 31, 1894, when the woodcut title still remained to be printed.

  • 25. Atalanta in Calydon: A Tragedy. By Algernon Charles Swinburne. Large 4to. Troy type, with argument and dramatis personæ in Chaucer type; the dedication and quotation from Euripides in Greek type designed by Selwyn Image. In black and red. Borders 5a and 5, and woodcut title. 250 on paper at two guineas, 8 on vellum at twelve guineas. Dated May 4, issued July 24, 1894. Published by William Morris. Bound in limp vellum.

    In the vellum copies of this book the colophon is not on the 82nd page as in the paper copies, but on the following page.

  • 26. The Tale of the Emperor Coustans and of Over Sea. Done out of ancient French by William Morris. 16mo. Chaucer type. In black and red. Borders 11a and 11, both twice, and two woodcut titles. 525 on paper at seven shillings and sixpence, 20 on vellum at two guineas. Dated August 30, issued Sept. 26, 1894. Published by William Morris. Bound in half holland.

    The first of these stories, which was the source of The Man born to be King, in The Earthly Paradise, was announced as in preparation in the list of March 31, 1894.

  • 27. The Wood Beyond the World. By William Morris. 8vo. Chaucer type. In black and red. Borders 13a and 13, and a frontispiece designed by Sir E. Burne-Jones, and engraved on wood by W. Spielmeyer. 350 on paper at two guineas, 8 on vellum at ten guineas. Dated May 30, issued Oct. 16, 1894. Published by William Morris. Bound in limp vellum.

    The borders in this book, as well as the ten half-borders, are here used for the first time. It was first announced as in the press in the list of March 31, 1894. Another edition was published by Lawrence & Bullen in 1895.

  • 28. The Book of Wisdom and Lies. A book of traditional stories from Georgia in Asia. Translated by Oliver Wardrop from the original of Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani. 8vo. Golden type. In black and red. Borders 4a and 4, and woodcut title. 250 on paper at two guineas, none on vellum. Finished Sept. 29, issued Oct. 29, 1894. Published by Bernard Quaritch. Bound in limp vellum.

    The arms of Georgia, consisting of the Holy Coat, appear in the woodcut title of this book.

  • 29. The Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Volume i. Edited by F. S. Ellis. 8vo. Golden type. Borders 1a and 1, and woodcut title. 250 on paper at twenty-five shillings, 6 on vellum at eight guineas. Not dated, issued Nov. 29, 1894. Published by William Morris. Bound in limp vellum without ties.

    Red ink is not used in this volume, though it is used in the second volume, and more sparingly in the third. Some of the half-borders designed for The Wood beyond the World reappear before the longer poems. The Shelley was first announced as in the press in the list of March 31, 1894.

    The Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Volume ii. Edited by F. S. Ellis. 8vo. Golden type. In black and red. 250 on paper at twenty-five shillings, 6 on vellum at eight guineas. Not dated, issued March 25, 1895. Published by William Morris. Bound in limp vellum without ties.

    The Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Volume iii. Edited by F. S. Ellis. 8vo. Golden type. In black and red. 250 on paper at twenty-five shillings, 6 on vellum at eight guineas. Dated August 21, issued October 28, 1895. Published by William Morris. Bound in limp vellum without ties.

  • 30. Psalmi Penitentiales. An English rhymed version of the Seven Penitential Psalms. Edited by F. S. Ellis. 8vo. Chaucer type. In black and red. 300 on paper at seven shillings and sixpence, 12 on vellum at three guineas. Dated Nov. 15, issued Dec. 10, 1894. Published by William Morris. Bound in half holland.

    These verses were taken from a manuscript Book of Hours written at Gloucester in the first half of the fifteenth century, but the Rev. Professor Skeat has pointed out that the scribe must have copied them from an older manuscript, as they are in the Kentish dialect of about a century earlier. The half-border on p. 34 appears for the first time in this book.

  • 31. Epistola De Contemptu Mundi Di Frate Hieronymo Da Ferrara Dellordine De Frati Predicatori La Quale Manda Ad Elena Buonaccorsi Sua Madre, Per Consolarla Della Morte Del Fratello, Suo Zio. Edited by Charles Fairfax Murray from the original autograph letter. 8vo. Chaucer type. In black and red. Border 1. Woodcut on title designed by C. F. Murray and engraved by W. H. Hooper. 150 on paper, and 6 on vellum. Dated Nov. 30, ready Dec. 12, 1894. Bound in half holland.

    This little book was printed for Mr. C. Fairfax Murray, the owner of the manuscript, and was not for sale in the ordinary way. The colophon is in Italian, and the printer’s mark is in red.

  • 32. The Tale of Beowulf. Done out of the Old English tongue by William Morris and A. J. Wyatt. Large 4to. Troy type, with argument, side-notes, list of persons and places, and glossary in Chaucer type. In black and red. Borders 14a and 14, and woodcut title. 300 on paper at two guineas, 8 on vellum at ten pounds. Dated Jan. 10, issued Feb. 2, 1895. Published by William Morris. Bound in limp vellum.

    The borders in this book were only used once again, in the Jason. A Note to the Reader printed on a slip in the Golden type was inserted in each copy. Beowulf was first announced as in preparation in the list of May 20, 1893. The verse translation was begun by Mr. Morris, with the aid of Mr. Wyatt’s careful paraphrase of the text, on Feb. 21, 1893, and finished on April 10, 1894, but the argument was not written by Mr. Morris until Dec. 10, 1894.

  • 33. Syr Perecyvelle of Gales. Overseen by F. S. Ellis, after the edition edited by J. O. Halliwell from the Thornton MS. in the Library of Lincoln Cathedral. 8vo. Chaucer type. In black and red. Borders 13a and 13, and a woodcut designed by Sir E. Burne-Jones. 350 on paper at fifteen shillings, 8 on vellum at four guineas. Dated Feb. 16, issued May 2, 1895. Published by William Morris. Bound in limp vellum.

    This is the first of the series to which Sire Degrevaunt and Syr Isumbrace belong. They were all reprinted from the Camden Society’s volume of 1844, which was a favourite with Mr. Morris from his Oxford days. Syr Perecyvelle was first announced in the list of Dec. 1, 1894. The shoulder-notes were added by Mr. Morris.

  • 34. The Life and Death of Jason, a Poem. By William Morris. Large 4to. Troy type, with a few words in Chaucer type. In black and red. Borders 14a and 14, and two woodcuts designed by Sir E. Burne-Jones and engraved on wood by W. Spielmeyer. 200 on paper at five guineas, 6 on vellum at twenty guineas. Dated May 25, issued July 5, 1895. Published by William Morris. Bound in limp vellum.

    This book, announced as in the press in the list of April 21, 1894, proceeded slowly, as several other books, notably the Chaucer, were being printed at the same time. The text, which had been corrected for the second edition of 1868, and for the edition of 1882, was again revised by the author. The line-fillings on the last page were cut on metal for this book, and cast like type.

  • 35. Child Christopher and Goldilind the Fair. By William Morris. 2 vols. 16mo. Chaucer type. In black and red. Borders 15a and 15, and woodcut title. 600 on paper at fifteen shillings, 12 on vellum at four guineas. Dated July 25, issued Sept. 25, 1895. Published by William Morris. Bound in half holland, with labels printed in the Golden type.

    The borders designed for this book were only used once again, in Hand and Soul. The plot of the story was suggested by that of Havelok the Dane, printed by the Early English Text Society.

  • 36. Hand and Soul. By Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Reprinted from The Germ for Messrs. Way & Williams, of Chicago. 16mo. Golden type. In black and red. Borders 15a and 15, and woodcut title. 300 paper copies and 11 vellum copies for America. 225 paper copies for sale in England at ten shillings, and 10 on vellum at thirty shillings. Dated Oct. 24, issued Dec. 12, 1895. Bound in stiff vellum without ties.

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    This was the only 16mo book bound in vellum. The English and American copies have a slightly different colophon. The shoulder-notes were added by Mr. Morris.

  • 37. Poems Chosen Out of the Works of Robert Herrick. Edited by F. S. Ellis, 8vo. Golden type. In black and red. Borders 4a and 4, and woodcut title. 250 on paper at thirty shillings, 8 on vellum at eight guineas. Dated Nov. 21, 1895, issued Feb. 6, 1896. Published by William Morris. Bound in limp vellum.

    This book was first announced as in preparation in the list of Dec. 1, 1894, and as in the press in that of July 1, 1895.

  • 38. Poems Chosen Out of the Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Edited by F. S. Ellis. 8vo. Golden type. In black and red. Borders 13a and 13. 300 on paper at a guinea, 8 on vellum at five guineas. Dated Feb. 5, issued April 12, 1896. Published by William Morris. Bound in limp vellum.

    View Facsimile

    This book contains thirteen poems. It was first announced as in preparation in the list of Dec. 1, 1894, and as in the press in that of Nov. 26, 1895. It is the last of the series to which Tennyson’s Maud, and the poems of Rossetti, Keats, Shelley, and Herrick belong.

  • 39. The Well at the World’s End. By William Morris. Large 4to. Double columns. Chaucer type. In black and red. Borders 16a, 16, 17a, 17, 18a, 18, 19a and 19, and 4 woodcuts designed by Sir E. Burne-Jones. 350 on paper at five guineas, 8 on vellum at twenty guineas. Dated March 2, issued June 4, 1896. Sold by William Morris. Bound in limp vellum.

    This book, delayed for various reasons, was longer on hand than any other. It appears in no less than twelve lists, from that of Dec., 1892, to that of Nov. 26, 1895, as ‘in the press.’ Trial pages, including one in a single column, were ready as early as September, 1892, and the printing began on December 16 of that year. The edition of The Well at the World’s End published by Longmans was then being printed from the author’s manuscript at the Chiswick Press, and the Kelmscott Press edition was set up from the sheets of that edition, which, though not issued until October, 1896, was finished in 1894. The eight borders and the six different ornaments between the columns, appear here for the first time, but are used again in The Water of the Wondrous Isles, with the exception of two borders.

  • 40. The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. Edited by F. S. Ellis. Folio. Chaucer type, with headings to the longer poems in Troy type. In black and red. Borders 20a to 26, woodcut title, and 87 woodcut illustrations designed by Sir E. Burne-Jones. 425 on paper at twenty pounds, 13 on vellum at 120 guineas. Dated May 8, issued June 26, 1896. Published by William Morris. Bound in half holland.

    The history of this book, which is by far the most important achievement of the Kelmscott Press, is as follows. As far back as June 11, 1891, Mr. Morris spoke of printing a Chaucer with a black-letter fount which he hoped to design. Four months later, when most of the Troy type was designed and cut, he expressed his intention to use it first on John Ball, and then on a Chaucer and perhaps a Gesta Romanorum. By January 1, 1892, the Troy type was delivered, and early in that month two trial pages, one from The Cook’s Tale and one from Sir Thopas, the latter in double columns, were got out. It then became evident that the type was too large for a Chaucer, and Mr. Morris decided to have it re-cut in the size known as pica. By the end of June he was thus in possession of the type which in the list issued in December, 1892, he named the Chaucer type. In July, 1892, another trial page, a passage from The Knight’s Tale in double columns of 58 lines, was got out, and found to be satisfactory. The idea of the Chaucer as it now exists, with illustrations by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, then took definite shape.

    In a proof of the first list, dated April, 1892, there is an announcement of the book as in preparation, in black-letter, large quarto, but this was struck out, and does not appear in the list as printed in May, nor yet in the July list. In that for Dec., 1892, it is announced for the first time as to be in Chaucer type ‘with about sixty designs by E. Burne-Jones.’ The next list, dated March 9, 1893, states that it will be a folio and that it is in the press, by which was meant that a few pages were in type. In the list dated Aug. 1, 1893, the probable price is given as twenty pounds. The next four lists contain no fresh information, but on Aug. 17, 1894, nine days after the first sheet was printed, a notice was sent to the trade that there would be 325 copies at twenty pounds and about sixty woodcuts designed by Sir Edward Burne-Jones. Three months later it was decided to increase the number of illustrations to upwards of seventy, and to print another 100 copies of the book. A circular letter was sent to subscribers on Nov. 14, stating this and giving them an opportunity of cancelling their orders. Orders were not withdrawn, the extra copies were immediately taken up, and the list for Dec. 1, 1894, which is the first containing full particulars, announces that all paper copies are sold.

    Mr. Morris began designing his first folio border on Feb. 1, 1893, but was dissatisfied with the design and did not finish it. Three days later he began the vine border for the first page, and finished it in about a week, together with the initial word ‘Whan,’ the two lines of heading, and the frame for the first picture, and Mr. Hooper engraved the whole of these on one block. The first picture was engraved at about the same time. A specimen of the first page (differing slightly from the same page as it appears in the book) was shown at the Arts and Crafts Exhibition in October and November, 1893, and was issued to a few leading booksellers, but it was not until August 8, 1894, that the first sheet was printed at 14, Upper Mall. On Jan. 8, 1895, another press was started at 21, Upper Mall, and from that time two presses were almost exclusively at work on the Chaucer. By Sept. 10 the last page of The Romaunt of the Rose was printed. In the middle of Feb., 1896, Mr. Morris began designing the title. It was finished on the 27th of the same month and engraved by Mr. Hooper in March. On May 8, a year and nine months after the printing of the first sheet, the book was completed. On June 2 the first two copies were delivered to Sir Edward Burne-Jones and Mr. Morris. Mr. Morris’s copy is now at Exeter College, Oxford, with other books printed at the Kelmscott Press.

    Besides the eighty-seven illustrations designed by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, and engraved by W. H. Hooper, the Chaucer contains a woodcut title, fourteen large borders, eighteen different frames round the illustrations, and twenty-six large initial words designed for the book by William Morris. Many of these were engraved by C. E. Keates, and others by W. H. Hooper and W. Spielmeyer.

    In Feb., 1896, a notice was issued respecting special bindings, of which Mr. Morris intended to design four. Two of these were to have been executed under Mr. Cobden-Sanderson’s direction at the Doves Bindery, and two by Messrs. J. & J. Leighton. But the only design that he was able to complete was for a full white pigskin binding, which has now been carried out at the Doves Bindery on forty-eight copies, including two on vellum.

  • 41. The Earthly Paradise. By William Morris. Volume i. Prologue: The Wanderers. March: Atalanta’s Race. The Man Born to Be King. Medium 4to. Golden type. In black and red. Borders 27a, 27, 28a, and 28, and woodcut title. 225 on paper at thirty shillings, 6 on vellum at seven guineas. Dated May 7, issued July 24, 1896. Published by William Morris. Bound in limp vellum.

    This was the first book printed on the paper with the apple watermark. The seven other volumes followed it at intervals of a few months. None of the ten borders used in The Earthly Paradise appear in any other book. The four different half-borders round the poems to the months are also not used elsewhere. The first border was designed in June, 1895.

    The Earthly Paradise. By William Morris. Volume ii. April: The Doom of King Acrisius. The Proud King. Medium 4to. Golden type. In black and red. Borders 29a, 29, 28a, and 28. 225 on paper at thirty shillings, 6 on vellum at seven guineas. Dated June 24, issued Sept. 17, 1896. Published by William Morris. Bound in limp vellum.

    The Earthly Paradise. By William Morris. Volume iii. May: The Story of Cupid and Psyche. The Writing on the Image. June: The Love of Alcestis. The Lady of the Land. Medium 4to. Golden type. In black and red. Borders 30a, 30, 27a, 27, 28a, 28, 29a, and 29. 225 on paper at thirty shillings, 6 on vellum at seven guineas. Dated Aug. 24, issued Dec. 5, 1896. Published at the Kelmscott Press. Bound in limp vellum.

    The Earthly Paradise. By William Morris. Volume iv. July: The Son of CrŒSus. The Watching of the Falcon. August: Pygmalion and the Image. Ogier the Dane. Medium 4to. Golden type. In black and red. Borders 31a, 31, 29a, 29, 28a, 28, 30a, and 30. Dated Nov. 25, 1896, issued Jan. 22, 1897. Published at the Kelmscott Press. Bound in limp vellum.

    The Earthly Paradise. By William Morris. Volume v. September: The Death of Paris. The Land East of the Sun and West of the Moon. October: The Story of Acontius and Cydippe. The Man who Never Laughed Again. Medium 4to. Golden type. In black and red. Borders 29a, 29, 27a, 27, 28a, 28, 31a, and 31. Finished Dec. 24, 1896, issued Mar. 9, 1897. Published at the Kelmscott Press. Bound in limp vellum.

    The Earthly Paradise. By William Morris. Volume vi. November: The Story of Rhodope. The Lovers of Gudrun. Medium 4to. Golden type. In black and red. Borders 27a, 27, 30a, and 30. Finished Feb. 18, issued May 11, 1897. Published at the Kelmscott Press. Bound in limp vellum.

    The Earthly Paradise. By William Morris. Volume vii. December: The Golden Apples. The Fostering of Aslaug. January: Bellerophon at Argos. The Ring Given to Venus. Medium 4to. Golden type. In black and red. Borders 29a, 29, 31a, 31, 30a, 30, 27a, and 27. Finished March 17, issued July 29, 1897. Published at the Kelmscott Press. Bound in limp vellum.

    The Earthly Paradise. By William Morris. Volume viii. February: Bellerophon in Lycia. The Hill of Venus. Epilogue. L’envoi. Medium 4to. Golden type. In black and red. Borders 28a, 28, 29a, and 29. Finished June 10, issued Sept. 27, 1897. Published at the Kelmscott Press. Bound in limp vellum.

    The colophon of this final volume of The Earthly Paradise contains the following note: ‘The borders in this edition of The Earthly Paradise were designed by William Morris, except those on page 4 of volumes ii., iii., and iv., afterwards repeated, which were designed to match the opposite borders, under William Morris’s direction, by R. Catterson-Smith; who also finished the initial words ‘Whilom’ and ‘Empty’ for The Water of the Wondrous Isles. All the other letters, borders, title-pages and ornaments used at the Kelmscott Press, except the Greek type in Atalanta in Calydon, were designed by William Morris.’

  • 42. Laudes Beatae Mariae Virginis. Latin poems taken from a Psalter written in England about A. D. 1220. Edited by S. C. Cockerell. Large 4to. Troy type. In black, red, and blue. 250 on paper at ten shillings, 10 on vellum at two guineas. Dated July 7, issued August 7, 1896. Published by William Morris. Bound in half holland.

    View Facsimile

    This was the first book printed at the Kelmscott Press in three colours. The manuscript from which the poems were taken was one of the most beautiful of the English books in Mr. Morris’s possession, both as regards writing and ornament. No author’s name is given to the poems, but after this book was issued the Rev. E. S. Dewick pointed out that they had already been printed at Tegernsee in 1579, in a 16mo volume in which they are ascribed to Stephen Langton. A note to this effect was printed in the Chaucer type in Dec. 28, 1896, and distributed to the subscribers.

  • 43. The Floure and the Leafe, and the Boke of Cupide, God of Love, or the Cuckow and the Nightingale. Edited by F. S. Ellis. Medium 4to. Troy type, with note and colophon in Chaucer type. In black and red. 300 on paper at ten shillings, 10 on vellum at two guineas. Dated Aug. 21, issued Nov. 2, 1896. Published at the Kelmscott Press. Bound in half holland.

    View Facsimile

    Two of the initial words from the Chaucer are used in this book, one at the beginning of each poem. These poems were formerly attributed to Chaucer, but recent scholarship has proved that The Floure and the Leafe is much later than Chaucer, and that The Cuckow and the Nightingale was written by Sir Thomas Clanvowe about A. D. 1405-10.

  • 44. The Shepheardes Calender: Conteyning Twelve ÆGlogues, Proportionable to the Twelve Monethes. By Edmund Spenser. Edited by F. S. Ellis. Medium 4to. Golden type. In black and red. With twelve full-page illustrations by A. J. Gaskin. 225 on paper at a guinea, 6 on vellum at three guineas. Dated Oct. 14, issued Nov. 26, 1896. Published at the Kelmscott Press. Bound in half holland.

    The illustrations in this book were printed from process blocks by Walker & Boutall. By an oversight the names of author, editor, and artist were omitted from the colophon.

  • 45. The Water of the Wondrous Isles. By William Morris. Large 4to. Chaucer type, in double columns, with a few lines in Troy type at the end of each of the seven parts. In black and red. Borders 16a, 17a, 18a, 19, and 19a. 250 on paper at three guineas, 6 on vellum at twelve guineas. Dated April 1, issued July 29, 1897. Published at the Kelmscott Press. Bound in limp vellum.

    Unlike The Well at the World’s End, with which it is mainly uniform, this book has red shoulder-notes and no illustrations. Mr. Morris began the story in verse on Feb. 4, 1895. A few days later he began it afresh in alternate prose and verse; but he was again dissatisfied, and finally began it a third time in prose alone, as it now stands. It was first announced as in the press in the list of June 1, 1896, at which date the early chapters were in type, although they were not printed until about a month later. The designs for the initial words ‘Whilom’ and ‘Empty’ were begun by William Morris shortly before his death, and were finished by R. Catterson-Smith. Another edition was published by Longmans on Oct. 1, 1897.

  • 46. Two Trial Pages of the Projected edition of Lord Berners’ translation of Froissart’s Chronicles. Folio. Chaucer type, with heading in Troy type. In black and red. Border 32, containing the shields of France, the Empire, and England and a half-border containing those of Reginald Lord Cobham, Sir John Chandos, and Sir Walter Manny. 160 on vellum at a guinea, none on paper. Dated September, issued October 7, 1897. Published at the Kelmscott Press. Not bound.

    It was the intention of Mr. Morris to make this edition of what was since his college days almost his favourite book, a worthy companion to the Chaucer. It was to have been in two volumes folio, with new cusped initials and heraldic ornament throughout. Each volume was to have had a large frontispiece designed by Sir E. Burne-Jones; the subject of the first was to have been St. George, that of the second, Fame. A trial page was set up in the Troy type soon after it came from the foundry, in Jan., 1892. Early in 1893 trial pages were set up in the Chaucer type, and in the list for March 9 of that year the book is erroneously stated to be in the press. In the three following lists it is announced as in preparation. In the list dated Dec. 1, 1893, and in the three next lists, it is again announced as in the press, and the number to be printed is given as 150. Meanwhile the printing of the Chaucer had been begun, and as it was not feasible to carry on two folios at the same time, the Froissart again comes under the heading ‘in preparation’ in the lists from Dec. 1, 1894, to June 1, 1896. In the prospectus of the Shepheardes Calender, dated Nov. 12, 1896, it is announced as abandoned. At that time about thirty-four pages were in type, but no sheet had been printed. Before the type was broken up, on Dec. 24, 1896, 32 copies of sixteen of these pages were printed and given as a memento to personal friends of the poet and printer whose death now made the completion of the book impossible. This suggested the idea of printing two pages for wider distribution. The half-border had been engraved in April, 1894, by W. Spielmeyer, but the large border only existed as a drawing. It was engraved with great skill and spirit by C. E. Keates, and the two pages were printed by Stephen Mowlem, with the help of an apprentice, in a manner worthy of the designs.

  • 47. Sire Degrevaunt. Edited by F. S. Ellis after the edition printed by J. O. Halliwell. 8vo. Chaucer type. In black and red. Borders 1a and 1, and a woodcut designed by Sir Edward Burne-Jones. 350 on paper at fifteen shillings, 8 on vellum at four guineas. Dated Mar. 14, 1896, issued Nov. 12, 1897. Published at the Kelmscott Press. Bound in half holland.

    View Facsimile

    This book, subjects from which were painted by Sir Edward Burne-Jones on the walls of The Red House, Upton, Bexley Heath, many years ago, was always a favourite with Mr. Morris. The frontispiece was not printed until October, 1897, eighteen months after the text was finished.

  • 48. Syr Ysambrace. Edited by F. S. Ellis after the edition printed by J. O. Halliwell from the MS. in the Library of Lincoln Cathedral, with some corrections. 8vo. Chaucer type. In black and red. Borders 4a and 4, and a woodcut designed by Sir Edward Burne-Jones. 350 on paper at twelve shillings, 8 on vellum at four guineas. Dated July 14, issued Nov. 11, 1897. Published at the Kelmscott Press. Bound in half holland.

    View Facsimile

    This is the third and last of the reprints from the Camden Society’s volume of Thornton Romances. The text was all set up and partly printed by June, 1896, at which time it was intended to include ‘Sir Eglamour’ in the same volume.

  • 49. Some German Woodcuts of the Fifteenth Century. Being thirty-five reproductions from books that were in the library of the late William Morris. Edited, with a list of the principal woodcut books in that library, by S. C. Cockerell. Large 4to. Golden type. In red and black. 225 on paper at thirty shillings, 8 on vellum at five guineas. Dated Dec. 15, 1897, issued January 6, 1898. Published at the Kelmscott Press. Bound in half holland.

    View Facsimile

    Of these thirty-five reproductions twenty-nine were all that were done of a series chosen by Mr. Morris to illustrate a catalogue of his library, and the other six were prepared by him for an article in the 4th number of Bibliographica, part of which is reprinted as an introduction to the book. The process blocks (with one exception) were made by Walker & Boutall, and are of the same size as the original cuts.

    Preceded by extracts from his article "On the artistic qualities of the woodcut books of Ulm and Augsburg in the fifteenth century," and followed by a list of the principal books with woodcuts in his library.

  • 50. The Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Niblungs. By William Morris. Small folio. Chaucer type, with title and headings to the four books in Troy type. In black and red. Borders 33a and 33, and two illustrations designed by Sir Edward Burne-Jones. 160 on paper at six guineas, 6 on vellum at twenty guineas. Dated January 19, issued February 25, 1898. Published at the Kelmscott Press. Bound in limp vellum.

    The two borders used in this book were almost the last that Mr. Morris designed. They were intended for an edition of The Hill of Venus, which was to have been written in prose by him and illustrated by Sir E. Burne-Jones. The foliage was suggested by the ornament in two Psalters of the last half of the thirteenth century in the library at Kelmscott House. The initial A at the beginning of the 3rd book was designed in March, 1893, for the Froissart, and does not appear elsewhere.

    An edition of Sigurd the Volsung, which Mr. Morris justly considered his masterpiece, was contemplated early in the history of the Kelmscott Press. An announcement appears in a proof of the first list, dated April, 1892, but it was excluded from the list as issued in May. It did not reappear until the list of November 26, 1895, in which, the Chaucer being near its completion, Sigurd comes under the heading ‘in preparation,’ as a folio in Troy type, ‘with about twenty-five illustrations by Sir E. Burne-Jones.’ In the list of June 1, 1896, it is finally announced as ‘in the press,’ the number of illustrations is increased to forty, and other particulars are given. Four borders had then been designed for it, two of which were used on pages 470 and 471 of the Chaucer. The other two have not been used, though one of them has been engraved. Two pages only were in type, thirty-two copies of which were struck off on Jan. 11, 1897, and given to friends, with the sixteen pages of Froissart mentioned above.

  • 51. The Sundering Flood. Written by William Morris. Overseen for the press by May Morris. 8vo. Chaucer type. In black and red. Border 10, and a map. 300 on paper at two guineas, ten on vellum at ten guineas. Dated Nov. 15, 1897, issued Feb. 25, 1898. Published at the Kelmscott Press. Bound in half holland.

    This was the last romance by William Morris. He began to write it on Dec. 21, 1895, and dictated the final words on Sept. 8, 1896. The map pasted into the cover was drawn by H. Cribb for Walker & Boutall, who prepared the block. In the edition that Longmans are about to issue the bands of robbers called in the Kelmscott edition Red and Black Skinners appear correctly as Red and Black Skimmers. The name was probably suggested by that of the pirates called ‘escumours of the sea’ on page 154 of Godefrey of Boloyne.

  • 52. Love is Enough, or the Freeing of Pharamond: A Morality. Written by William Morris. Large 4to. Troy type, with stage directions in Chaucer type. In black, red, and blue. Borders 6a and 7, and two illustrations designed by Sir Edward Burne-Jones. 300 on paper at two guineas, 8 on vellum at ten guineas. Dated Dec. 11, 1897, issued Mar. 24, 1898. Published at the Kelmscott Press. Bound in limp vellum.

    This was the second book printed in three colours at the Kelmscott Press. As explained in the colophon, the final picture was not designed for this edition of Love is Enough, but for the projected edition.

  • 53. A Note by William Morris on his Aims in Founding the Kelmscott Press, together with a Short Description of the Press by S. C. Cockerell, and an Annotated List of the Books Printed Thereat. Octavo. Golden type, with five pages in the Troy and Chaucer types. In black and red. Borders 4a and 4, and a woodcut designed by Sir E. Burne-Jones. 525 on paper at ten shillings, 12 on vellum at two guineas. Dated March 1, issued March 24, 1898. Published at the Kelmscott Press. Bound in half holland.

    View Facsimile

    The frontispiece to this book was engraved by William Morris for the projected edition of The Earthly Paradise.

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