Kelmscott Press

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Kelmscott Press

Kelmscott Press, printing establishment in London. There William Morris led the 19th-century revival of the art and craft of making books (see arts and crafts). The first book made by the press was The Story of the Glittering Plain (1891), by William Morris. The masterpiece of the press was The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer (1896), a folio with illustrations by Sir Edward Burne-Jones and decorative designs and typeface by William Morris. After the death of Morris in 1896 the press completed some work that he had planned, but no new work was undertaken. The final publication of the press was A Note by William Morris on His Aims in Founding the Kelmscott Press (1898). The three types designed by Morris and used by the press were the Golden type, named for The Golden Legend (1892); the Troy type, named for The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye (1892); and the Chaucer type, named for the Chaucer folio. The Chaucer type is smaller than the Troy type; otherwise they are the same. The type designs were influenced directly by printers of the 15th cent. The enormous achievement of the press owes much to the art of Burne-Jones and to the inspiration and guidance of the master printer Emery Walker. It gave to the making of books new dignity and raised the level of printing craftsmanship, profoundly influencing book-design quality. See Ashendene Press; Vale Press; Doves Press.

See M. J. Perry, A Chronological List of the Books Printed at the Kelmscott Press (1928); T. Scott, A Bibliography of the Works of William Morris (1877, repr. 1971).

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