Offered by: Shapero Gallery
94 New Bond Street London W1S 1SJ , England Call Seller 44.207.493.0876


The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. by Geoffrey CHAUCER

$ 142,635
  • Description
    The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer.
    Stock Code 112370
    Hammersmith, Kelmscott Press, 1896

    Current price$142,635.00
    One of 425 copies - in the original binding. One of 425 copies on paper, from a total edition of 438, in the original binding.

    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' 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. The total edition comprised 438 copies: 425 on paper and 13 on vellum, with 50 of these bound in pigskin by the Doves Bindery.

    Burne-Jones devoted all his Sundays for almost three years to the work, and Morris came to talk with him as he drew. As the artist worked he increased the number of proposed illustrations from 48 to 60 to 72 to 87, and Morris accepted each change. The process of adapting the drawings to the woodblock, and engraving them, was entrusted to W. H. Hooper and R. Catterson-Smith, with Burne-Jones closely supervising every detail.

    A work described as 'perfect... both in design and in the quality of the printing... the last and the most magnificent, the Kelmscott Chaucer' (PMM, p.223).

    'The finest book ever printed - if W. M. had done nothing else it would be enough...' (Burne-Jones).

    Limited edition, one of 425 copies on paper, from a total edition of 438; folio (42.2 x 28.8 cm); Chaucer type, headings to longer poems in Troy type, headings, incipits and explicits printed in red, 87 woodcut illustrations designed by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, redrawn in ink by R. Catterson-Smith and cut in wood by W. H. Hooper, woodcut title-page, 14 large borders, ornamental woodcut title, 18 different frames around illustrations, 26 19-line initial words, printer's ornaments, printer's device, all designed by William Morris and cut in wood by Hooper, C. E. Keates and W. Spielmeyer, numerous 10-line and smaller initial capitals; original holland-backed blue boards, printed paper label to spine, edges uncut, expert refurbishment to spine label and small areas of board edges, some wear to spine ends, else near-fine in clean, well-preserved, original condition; housed in red quarter morocco folding case.

    The Artist and the Book 45; Franklin Private Presses p.192; Needham, William Morris and the Art of the Book 101C; Peterson, Bibliography A40; Peterson, The Kelmscott Chaucer: A Census (this copy unrecorded).
  • More Information
    Documentation: Documented elsewhere (similar item)
    Period: 19th Century
    Condition: Good.
    Styles / Movements: Traditional
    Dealer Reference #: 112370
    Incollect Reference #: 727213
Message from Seller:

Based in the heart of Mayfair in London, we specialise in prints and original works on paper across a broad range of subjects, from antique prints to modern pochoir plates, as well as photographs from vintage photography to modern art photography.

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