Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press, 1896. This is an original leaf from the Kelmscott Press masterpiece, The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, accompanied by an essay by the bookseller John Windle on its commercial history. The leaf is from a disbound and dispersed damaged copy. Copies were presented by Windle in a paper portfolio in 1994 as a keepsake to members of the Colophon, Roxburghe, and Zamorano Clubs. The folio-sized leaf is from pages 215-216, “The Persouns Tale.” There is no illustration, but there are one large and twelve small decorated initials. The leaf is in very good condition except for a bit of rubrication (red ink text) bleed-through on the two shoulder titles and one section heading, and a little rippling along top edge. The first page of the accompanying essay is decorated with a Burne-Jones illustration and woodcut borders reproduced from the Chaucer. The essay includes a chart comparing auction prices of the Chaucer to three other notable books, 1966-1993, on the other pages. MOR/110414. Very Good.
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Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press, 1891. Hardcover. One of 300 copies. Presentation copy inscribed by William Morris to Theodore Watts-Dunton on front free endpaper. Best known as the rescuer of Swinburne, Watts-Dunton was a respected literary critic and a friend to many in the Pre-Raphaelite circle, especially Rossetti. He was also a steady patron of the Kelmscott Pres. In his bibliography,of the press, William Peterson cites several presentation copies given to Watts-Dunton, including this one. An edition of Watts-Dunton's first book of poetry, The Coming of Love, had been planned for the Press, but it was never carried out (Peterson B4). This copy belonged to English poet and playwright John Drinkwater, with his leather bookplate on the front pastedown and his ownership inscription in pen dated 1920 beneath Morris's inscription. Drinkwater published a critical study of William Morris in 1912. Poems by the Way was the second book printed by The Kelmscott Press, and the first printed in red and black. This marks the first appearance of many of the poems, one of which ("Goldilocks") was written especially for this book. Fine in limp vellum boards with gilt title to spine. Ribbon ties are detached, but three of the four are laid in. As Peterson notes in his bibliography, the book ties are the most fragile part of Kelmscott books, and they are broken on many copies (Peterson xxxvi). Slight darkening to spine and light spotting to boards. Offsetting from bookplate to facing page, else the interior is clean and bright. The first page features a wide vine border and large initials are featured throughout the text, all designed by Morris. 197 pages. A beautiful association copy of this book. Housed in a blue silk covered clamshell box with paper title label to spine. MOR/031618. Fine.