“I began printing books with the hope of producing some which would have a definite claim to beauty, while at the same time they should be easy to read and should not dazzle the eye.” – William Morris, 1895

Left: The Albion Press Morris used. Right: The Kelmscott Chaucer. Images Courtesy of the William Morris Society. [Click on images to enlarge them.]

This year the William Morris Society celebrates 130 years since the founding of Morris’s Kelmscott Press and 125 years since the publication of the Kelmscott Chaucer. This exhibition is a key part of the Society’s commemorations. [Click here for the exhibition.]

The Kelmscott Press was Morris’s last great artistic venture. With the support of his friend and collaborator Emery Walker, Morris established a book printing operation near his home in Hammersmith. His respect for traditional craftsmanship, search for perfection in design and love of literature all came together in the books produced by the Kelmscott Press. The most ambitious of these was the complete works of Chaucer, described by Edward Burne-Jones as ‘like a pocket cathedral’. Published just months before Morris’s death, it embodies his highest design ideals.

This exhibition explores Morris’s book printing enterprise and showcases a number of rarely seen objects from the Society’s Kelmscott Press collection, including the Kelmscott Chaucer.

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Last modified 13 April 2021