(KELMSCOTT PRESS.) Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer now newly imprinted. Edited by F. S. Ellis. Printed in red and black in Chaucer and Troy types, in two columns. 87 large woodcut illustrations by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, redrawn by Robert Catterson-Smith and cut by W. H. Hooper. Woodcut title-page, 14 woodcut borders, initial words and letters, all designed by William Morris and cut by C. E. Keates, W. H. Hooper, and W. Spielmeyer. Large folio, original holland-backed boards, paper spine label, mostly worn away, tips rubbed wth some surface loss, few minor soil marks to covers, spine lightly spotted; split between a few signatures at front with some residual loosening, leaves quite clean; modern custom clamshell case by Plough & Shear of gilt-stamped 1/4 calf with illustrated cover onlay. [Hammersmith: Printed by William Morris at the Kelmscott Press, 1896]
Estimate $45,000 - 60,000
one of 425 copies. the first edition of the most famous book of the modern private press movement. ". . . the culmination of William Morris's endeavor"--The Artist and the Book, 45. Morris took orders for 425 standard copies of the work several years before production started and had to refuse orders for hundreds more due to the time constraints of printing. After his death in 1896, the Kelmscott Press closed its doors, Burne Jones's woodcuts for this work were presented to the British Museum and the fonts gifted to the University Press, Cambridge, making it impossible to print any further copies -- [Franklin, The Private Press p.192; Sparling 40; Tomkinson p.117 no.40; PMM 367 note]; Clark Library, Kelmscott and Doves, pages 46-48; Huntington Library, Great Books in Great Editions, 24; Needham, William Morris and the Art of the Book, 101A; Peterson A40; Ransom, Private Presses, page 329, no. 40; Ray, The Illustrator and the Book in England, 258 ("one of the great books of the world"); Tidcombe, The Doves Bindery, 408 and pages 46-61; Walsdorf 40.