Geoffrey Chaucer. Kelmscott Press Edition. Peter Harrington Rare & First Edition Books.

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Geoffrey Chaucer, Kelmscott Press Edition

A work described as ‘perfect … both in design and in the quality of the printing…the last and the most magnificent, the Kelmscott Chaucer’ (Printing and the Mind of Man, p.223). The most ambitious and magnificent book of the Press, the Kelmscott Chaucer was four years in the making. Morris designed the watermark for the paper, which was copied from an Italian incunable in Morris’s collection and made entirely of linen by Batchelor. It took several requests before Clarendon Press granted permission to use Skeat’s new edition of Chaucer. Burne-Jones called the book ‘a pocket cathedral – it is so full of design,’ and ‘the finest book ever printed; if W. M. had done nothing else it would be enough.’

Limited edition, one of 425 copies on paper from a total edition of 438, and one of approximately 50 copies commissioned in this binding.
Ornamental woodcut title, 14 large borders, 18 different frames round the illustrations, 26 initials designed by William Morris and 87 wood cut illustrations designed by Sir Edward Burne-Jones and engraved by W.H. Hooper. Shoulder and side titles printed in red and the whole printed in two columns in Chaucer type designed by William Morris.

This book is now sold. However, we do have various copies of Chaucer in many different printings on our website, which are available to browse online here.


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