William Morris & Sidney C. Cockerell: A Note by W. M. on His Aims in Founding the Kelmscott Press

“I began printing books with the hope of producing some which would have a definite claim to beauty”

William Morris und Sidney C. Cockerell:

A Note by William Morris on His Aims in Founding the Kelmscott Press Together with a Short Description of the Press by S. C. Cockerell, & an Annotated List of the Books Printed Thereat.

Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press, 1898.

Octavo. ca. 206 × 143 mm. [4 weiße], [4], 70, [1], [1 weiße] Seiten. Sowie ein Errata-Zettel. Mit einem Holzschnitt-Frontispiz von William Morris nach Sir Edward Burne-Jones, dieses und der Titel mit breiter Umrahmung; eine sechszeilenhohe Initiale und vier größere Initialen; auf Seite 70 die Druckermarke Nr. 1 vor dem rot gedruckten Kolophon auf der folgenden Seite.

Handgefertigter Original-Halbleinwandband mit in Golden type-Versalien gedrucktem Titel auf Vorderdeckel, unbeschnitten. Gebunden von J. & J. Leighton.

Eins von nur 525 Exemplaren auf handgeschöpftem Bütten; Gesamtauflage 537 Exemplare. Gedruckt in rot und schwarz in Golden type. Das letzte Buch der Kelmscott Press. Mit drei Ornamentleisten für „Love ist Enough“ sowie je zwei Anwendungsbeispielen der Troy type und Chaucer type, mit insgesamt vier Initialen zum „Froissart“, die in der Ausgabe von 1896 nicht verwandt wurden.
¶ Der Essay von Morris wurde für Carl Edelheim in Philadelphia geschrieben und erschien ursprünglich in „Modern Art“, Nr. 4, Winter 1896. In ihm beschreibt Morris ausgehend von seiner Bewunderung für frühe Handschriften und Inkunabeln, Einflüsse und Entwicklung, die ihn zur Gestaltung seiner Typen, zur Proportionierung der Seiten und zur Art der Illustration verhalfen. Das hier verwandte Frontispiz wurde ursprünglich für eine, dann nicht erschienene, Ausgabe von „The Earthly Paradise“ um 1860 gezeichnet.

Unteres Kapital minimal berieben, Ecken fast unmerklich bestoßen, Hinterdeckel mit schwachem Fleck unten; innen sehr gut. Mit dem meist fehlenden Errata-Zettel, der wohl von der Chiswick-Press gedruckt wurde. Selten.

One of 525 copies on paper of an edition of 537. Printed in Golden type in black and red. Woodcut frontispiece by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, woodcut title and facing page with full woodcut page-borders, numerous woodcut initials. Original holland-backed blue paper boards, title printed on upper cover, uncut. Fine.

Peterson A53 – Latham 60 – Walsdorf 53 – Tomkinson 121,53 – Cockerell 53 – Ransom 331,53 – Fredeman 43.3 – Bibliographiender Text.


Die drei Drucktypen der Kelmscott Press:
Kelmscott Press types Golden type Troy type Chaucer type

“Next as to type. By instinct rather than by conscious thinking it over, I began by getting myself a fount of Roman type. And here what I wanted was letter pure in form; severe, without needless excrescences; solid, without the thickening and thinning of the line, which is the essential fault of the ordinary modern type, and which makes it difficult to read; and not compressed laterally, as all later type has grown to be owing to commercial exigencies. There was only one source from which to take examples of this perfected Roman type, to wit, the works of the great Venetian printers of the fifteenth century, of whom Nicholas Jenson produced the completest and most Roman characters from 1470 to 1476. This type I studied with much care, getting it photographed to a big scale, and drawing it over many times before I began designing my own letter; so that though I think I mastered the essence of it, I did not copy it servilely; in fact, my Roman type, especially in the lower case, tends rather more to the Gothic than does Jenson’s.”

“After a while I felt that I must have a Gothic as well as a Roman fount; and herein the task I set myself was to redeem the Gothic character from the charge of unreadableness which is commonly brought against it. And I felt that this charge could not be reasonably brought against the types of the first two decades of printing: that Schoeffer at Mainz, Mentelin at Strasburg, and Gunther Zainer at Augsburg, avoided the spiky ends and undue compression which lay some of the later type open to the above charge. Only the earlier printers (naturally following therein the practice of their predecessors the scribes) were very liberal of contractions, and used an excess of ‘tied’ letters, which, by the way, are very useful to the compositor. So I entirely eschewed contractions, except for the ‘&,’ and had very few tied letters, in fact none but the absolutely necessary ones. Keeping my end steadily in view, I designed a black-letter type which I think I may claim to be as readable as a Roman one, and to say the truth I prefer it to the Roman. This type is of the size called Great Primer (the Roman type is of ‘English’ size); but later on I was driven by the necessities of the Chaucer (a double-columned book) to get a smaller Gothic type of Pica size.”