London: Longmans Green and Company, 1910. Item #04202
The Definitive Edition of the Works of William Morris
MORRIS, William. The Collected Works of William Morris. With introductions by his daughter May Morris. London: Longmans Green and Company, 1910-1915.
Limited to 1,050 numbered copies (of which this is number 271).
Twenty-four octavo volumes (9 x6 1/8 inches; 229 x 156 mm.). Photogravure frontispieces and plates (by Emery Walker and Walker & Boutall), facsimiles (one color) and examples of Kelmscott type and borders, maps (some folding).
Bound ca. 1915, in full brown morocco. Covers decoratively bordered in gilt, spines decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt in compartments, gilt ruled turn-ins, full dark blue morocco doublures decoratively ruled in gilt, purple watered silk end-leaves, top edge gilt, others uncut. Although the binding is not signed it is most probably the work of Stikeman & Co. of New York. Minimal rubbing to extremities otherwise a very fine set of the definitive edition of Morris’s works.
William Morris (1834-1896), “English designer, poet, and early socialist, whose designs for furniture, wallpaper, and other decorative products generated the Arts and Crafts Movement. Through his friendship with the poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Morris was associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, whose interest in medieval subjects was reflected in Morris’ poetry as well as his designs… As a poet, he first achieved fame and success with the romantic narrative The Life and Death of Jason (1867). Other works of this period were The Earthly Paradise (1868-70), a series of narrative poems based on classical and medieval sources; the exquisitely illuminated Book of Verse (1870); and his principal poetic achievement, the epic Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Niblungs (1876), written after a prolonged study of the Old Norse sagas… [Morris] became an active socialist; he formed the Socialist League, with its own publication, The Commonweal. There his two finest romances—A Dream of John Ball (1888) and News from Nowhere (1890), an idyllic vision of a rural socialist utopia—appeared. Subsequently, he founded the Hammersmith Socialist Society. Morris founded the Kelmscott Press in 1891, and between that year and 1898 it produced 53 titles in 66 volumes. He designed three typestyles for his press, including Geoffrey Chaucer type, in which The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer was printed during the last years of Morris’ life. One of the greatest examples of the art of the printed book, Chaucer is the most highly decorated of the Kelmscott publications” (Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of Literature).