Noble and Joyous Book Entytled Le Morte Darthur, The; Notwythstondyng it Treateth of the Byrth, Lyf, and Actes of the Sayd Kyng Arthur, of His Noble Knyghtes of the Rounde Table, Theyr Mervayllous Enquestes and Adventures…Whiche Book was Reduced in to Englysshe by Syr Thomas Malory, Knyght.

The Ashendene Malory:
Three Years in the Making
"One of the Best"

[ASHENDENE PRESS]. MALORY, Sir Thomas. The Noble and Joyous Book Entytled Le Morte Darthur, Notwythstondyng it Treateth of the Byrth, Lyf, and Actes of the Sayd Kyng Arthur, of His Noble Knyghtes of the Rounde Table, Theyr Mervayllous Enquestes and Adventures…Whiche Book was Reduced in to Englysshe by Syr Thomas Malory, Knyght. Chelsea: At the Ashendene Press, [1913].

One of 147 copies on paper (not 145 as stated in the colophon), out of a total edition of 155 copies. Folio (15 3/4 x 11 inches; 400 x 280 mm.). xxii, 500 pp. Printed in red and black in Subiaco type, the chapter headings and shoulder notes in red, with initial letters designed by Graily Hewitt and printed in alternating red and blue. Two full-page woodcuts, one at the beginning and one at the end of the book, and twenty-seven smaller woodcuts by W.H. Hooper and J.B. Swain after designs by C.M. Gere and Margaret Gere. The text is that of Southey’s Reprint (1817) of Caxton’s edition, with a few minor variations.

Publisher's original full brown cowhide. Gilt-lettered spine with raised bands, board edges and turn-ins ruled in gilt. A fine copy.

"Having chosen Malory as the second large folio for his Press after Dante Hornby took the same period to produce it: three year, 1910-13" (Franklin, Ashendene Press, p. 103). "Taken as a whole, I think this is one of the best of my books" (C.H. St John Hornby, as quoted in Franklin, ibid., p. 104).

“This book was printed on a new make of paper by Messrs. Batchelor of a size slightly smaller than the folio Dante and bearing a new water-mark. In it, for the first time, blue was used alternately with red for the large initials…The small woodcuts up to and including that to Book X. Cap. 59 were done by W.H. Hooper. He died during the progress of the work and the rest of the cuts were done by J.B. Swain” (Ashendene Bibliography).

"The Ashendene Press ranks with Kelmscott and Doves at the zenith of superb bookmaking" (Ransom, Private Presses and Their Books, p.95).

Ashendene Bibliography XXVI. Ransom, Private Presses, p. 205, no. 28. Tomkinson, p. 6, no. 28. Item #01368

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