Description: MORRIS, William (1834-1896). The Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Niblungs. Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press, 1898.
2° (328 x 235mm). Printed in Chaucer and Troy type, printed in black and red, 2 wood-engraved illustrations by W. H. Hooper after Robert Catterson-Smith from Sir Edward Burne-Jones PRINTED ON VELLUM bifolia a1.4 and
1.2, woodcut initials and borders. EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED with: a leaf of 10 designs for initials in ink and bodycolour by Morris, annotated by Sydney Cockerell 'never engraved' and 'William Morris. Unfinished designs for initials for the Kelmscott Press' (170 x 223mm), tipped onto flyleaf; autograph letter signed from Burne-Jones to Sydney Cockerell, The Grange, 49 North End Road, [docketed by Cockerell 29 June 1897], one page, 8° and autograph letter signed from Burne-Jones to Sydney Cockerell, The Grange, 49 North End Road, [docketed by Cockerell 28 October 1897], 2 pages on a bifolium, 8°, the latter tipped onto lower pastedown; Morris' clipped signature tipped onto lower pastedown. Original limp vellum [by J. & J. Leighton], yapp fore-edges, green silk ties, spine titled in gilt (covers slightly bowed), late 20th-century morocco-backed box by Heritage Bindery. Provenance: Sir Sydney Carlyle Cockerell, Richmond, Surrey, 1898 (1867-1962, ownership inscription; his sale, Sotheby's, 10 December 1955, lot 55, to:) -- Edwards (named buyer) -- Philip C. Duschnes, New York (bookseller's ticket on rear free endpaper) -- Stuart B. Schimmel (his sale, Christie's New York, 17 May 1991, lot 213).
COCKERELL'S 'SPECIAL COPY', WITH THE ILLUSTRATIONS PRINTED ON VELLUM, A SHEET OF INITIALS BY MORRIS AND TWO LETTERS FROM BURNE-JONES ABOUT THE WORK. Sigurd the Volsung was first published in 1876, when Morris had inscribed a copy of it to Burne-Jones (see lot 92), and Morris had planned a Kelmscott Press edition of it, to be illustrated with 25 images by Burne-Jones, in 1891. However, the artist was very reluctant to undertake the project, and, despite being announced in the list of 26 November 1895 and again in the list of 1 June 1896 as 'in the press', it languished, remaining uncompleted on the author's death in 1896 (although two specimen pages were printed in January 1897 from type that had been set up). In January 1897 Cockerell persuaded Burne-Jones to provide two illustrations for a simpler edition; in June Burne-Jones wrote to Cockerell in the letter included in this copy, 'I will see to the drawings at once -- & next week you shall have the 1st. & the week after the 2nd'. The illustrations were redrawn for engraving by Robert Catterson-Smith in October 1897 and in the second letter present here (dated 28 October 1897), Burne-Jones writes to Cockerell 'I have just finished up & passed the frontispiece to Sigurd -- Catterson Smith has done it admirably & it ought to look well'. The work was issued on 25 February 1898 in an edition of 160 paper and 6 vellum copies, and the present copy (marked 'special copy' on the front free endpaper by Cockerell) contains the illustrations printed on vellum and includes a sheet of designs for initials by Morris. Peterson A50 (recording this copy as h); Ransom 'Kelmscott' 50; Tomkinson 'Kelmscott' 8.
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