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Lot 60: Kelmscott Press - Chaucer
Fine Books and Manuscripts, including Americana
December 12, 2001
New York, NY, USA
Description: Kelmscott Press - Chaucer The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, ed. F.S. Ellis. Hammersmith: The Kelmscott Press, 8 May 1896 Folio (17 x 11 1/2 in.; 432 x 292 mm, uncut). Double columns, Chaucer type, some headings in Troy type, wood-engraved title-page, 14 full-page foliated borders, 18 narrow borders enclosing text illustrations, 26 large white-on-black initials, numerous 10-line and smaller white-on-black and black-on-white initials, printer's ornaments, printer's device, by C.E. Keates, W.H. Hooper, and W. Spielmeyer after designs by William Morris, 87 text illustrations by Edward Burne-Jones, redrawn in ink by R. Catterson-Smith and engraved by W.H. Hooper; first sheet slightly loose from sca003g. Publisher's quarter holland, blue boards; extremities somewhat rubbed, cloth slightly frayed on joints, corners bumped, very minor dust-soiling; cloth case. Magnificent production; one of 425 copies on paper from a total edition of 438. William S. Peterson says it best: the Chaucer came at the end of Morris's life, when he was able to pour into this single volume all his bibliophilic passion and his unmatched skill as a designer of ornaments; it is significant that even those readers who find Morris's pages too heavy or congested for their tastes feel compelled, in the end, to pay tribute to the Chaucer as one of the great books of the world." The final great work from the Kelmscott Press. References: Artist and the Book 45; Peterson A40; Peterson The Kelmscott Press, p. 228-257
Provenance: Robert Heysham Sayre (bookplate) "