Hammersmith: Sold by William Morris at the Kelmscott Press, 1896. Item #03385
The First Kelmscott Press Book Printed in Three Colors
[KELMSCOTT PRESS]. Laudes Beatae Mariae Virginis. [Hammersmith: Sold by William Morris at the Kelmscott Press, 1896].
One of 250 paper copies. Large quarto (11 7/16 x 8 1/4 inches; 291 x 210 mm.). Printed in Troy type in black, red, and blue with numerous six- and eight-line initial letter and half-page borders. Quarto. , 34 pp. “These poems are taken from a Psalter written by an English scribe, most likely in one of the Midland counties, early in the 13th century” (colophon).
Original gray linen-backed boards, front cover lettered in black. Slight wear to corners and spine extremities, otherwise an excellent copy. Complete with the note by the Rev. E.S. Deswick loosely laid-in. Housed in a red cloth slipcase.
“[A]fter the book was issued, the Rev. E.S. Dewick pointed out that the poems had already been printed at Tegernsee in 1579, in a 16mo volume in which they are ascribed to Stephen Langton. A note to this effect was printed in Chaucer type in December 1896 and distributed to the subscribers” (Tomkinson). This is the first of only two books printed at the Kelmscott Press in three colors.
William Morris's printed illuminated transcription of an early thirteenth-century English Psalter, written as poems of praise to St. Mary the Virgin, includes four pages from Luke's Gospel and concludes with a Te Deum. Today the original Psalter, which Morris once owned, is known as the Reading Abbey Psalter and is in the Pierpont Morgan Library.
Clark Library, Kelmscott and Doves, pp. 52-53. Peterson A42. Tomkinson, p. 118, no. 43.