F308 Kelmscott Chaucer

F308 Kelmscott Chaucer_IMG_4542_edited_smallerThe works of Geoffrey Chaucer : now newly imprinted / edited by F.S. Ellis.

London, Hammersmith : Kelmscott Press, 1896.

Printed in black and red with ornamental initials; red print in margins.
Typeface: Troy type
Bound in plain blue boards, with cloth spine, in blue leather padded slip case, with gold lettering on front

Colophon reads: Here ends the book of the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, edited by F.S. Ellis; ornamented with pictures by Sir Edward Burne Jones, and engraved on wood by W.H. Hooper. Printed by me William Morris at The Kelmscott Press, Upper Mall, Hammersmith … finished on the 8th day of May 1896.


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The Kelmscott Chaucer was the crowning glory of William Morris’s career as book designer and typographer.  Edward Burne-Jones created the 87 woodcuts that adorn the book, but the font, layout and decorations in themselves are things of great beauty. Burne-Jones referred to it as “a pocket cathedral” – though you would need to have exceptionally large pockets! 425 copies of the book were made in total, and the work took four years to complete.


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Much has been written about William Morris as book designer, and about the Kelmscott Chaucer in particular.


You will find more information in the following web articles:

The private press movement: a pocket cathedral (I Love Typography)

British Library: Online gallery: Kelmscott Chaucer