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Geoffrey Chaucer and William S Peterson
The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer [Facsimile of the Kelmscott Chaucer]

Geoffrey Chaucer and William S Peterson, The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, London: Folio Society, [n.d. but circa 2008]

559 pages including eighty-seven wood-engraved illustrations by Edward Burne-Jones. A useful essay on the Kelmscott Chaucer at the back of the book by William S. Peterson. Text in red and black throughout, with numerous fine illustrations and borders in the text; bound in reddish brown buckram, elaborately blocked in gold with a design by William Morris. The binding is designed by David Pearson and executed by Sigloch Buchbinderei, Germany. Paper specially commissioned from James Cropper, a small mill in the Lake District, England. Gilded top edge, black ribbon silk marker, brown end papers. Presented in a sturdy slipcase. 8kg
13.1 x 12 x 3.1 in (33.5 x 30.5 x 8 cm)
16.7 x 12.4 x 3.2 in (42.5 x 31.5 x 8.2 cm) (with slipcase)

The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer was the work for which William Morris had such great hopes. It was instantly recognized as a masterpiece of book creation, the best publication to come from the Arts and Crafts movement, and internationally acknowledged as the pinnacle of private press publishing when it was published in 1896 at Morris' Kelmscott Press. Morris's work as a typographer and designer reached a height with the Kelmscott Chaucer. The medieval style 'Chaucer' font, opulent ornamental borders, decorative capitals, and frames he designed, together with Edward Burne-Jones' magnificent woodcut pictures, gives a wonderful environment for poetic works of Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, Troilus and Criseyde, The Parliament of Fowls, The Book of the Duchess, The House of Fame and The Romaunt of the Rose.

This book is an exact lovely facsimile example of what was largely regarded as one of the best books published throughout the whole nineteenth century. It has only one brief text on page 554 which indicates that the book was produced for the Folio Society by Cambridge University Press using Oxenford twin-wire laid paper particularly commissioned from James Cropper, a small mill in the Lake District. William S. Peterson's five-page article at the back of the book discusses the book's background.

The original book, illustrated by William Morris and published by the Kelmscott Press in 1896, was limited to 425 copies. Morris illustrated it as his final effort before his death shortly after its release. The majority of the pages are basic text with illuminated capitals, but roughly 15% are elaborately detailed engravings.

The Folio Society first released this book in 2002 as a limited edition bound in white leather gilt with a design, but it had a different design as compared to the excellent edition of this lot. The texts and paper of the two books are identical, but the present lot has an added colophon page.

  Lot 1 of 73  

17-18 JANUARY 2023


Category: Books


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