THE POEMS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE.

([London: Printed at the Essex House Press and published by Edward Arnold, 1899]). 236 x 175 mm. (9 3/8 x 6 7/8"). [viii], 253, [1] pp. No. 324 OF 450 COPIES.

Attractive early 20th century green levant morocco, covers with inlaid black levant frame, central panel of upper cover with gilt titling, raised bands, gilt titling, ALMOST ENTIRELY UNOPENED. With woodcut frontispiece by Reginald Savage, numerous decorative initials (mostly three-line but a few larger), printer's device on colophon. Tomkinson, p. 265; Ransom, p. 69. Spine slightly faded, a little foxing to the edges of the text block, isolated instances of light foxing on a handful of leaves, but AN EXCELLENT COPY, obviously little used and thus very well preserved inside and out.

This is particularly lovely product of the Essex House Press, printed in red and black and featuring hundreds of woodcut initials, and made all the more desirable in an understated but pleasing binding. The Essex House Press was established in 1898 by C. R. Ashbee (1863-1942) as an addition to the several crafts practiced at his Guild of Handicraft, located at Essex House in London's Mile End Road. When he founded the press, Ashbee purchased the presses and other production equipment (though not the type) formerly owned by William Morris' Kelmscott Press, which had shut down in 1897; in 1902, Ashbee moved his press and other Guild workshops to Chipping Campden. In the two locations, he printed books for 12 years (twice as long as Morris), with vellum, ink, and paper identical to that used by Kelmscott, in an effort to carry on the tradition Morris had established. But the Essex House Press, because it was conceived of and continued as part of a larger enterprise involving various artisans at work in a group of workshops, always had its own special identity, a fact which Cave reflects when he calls it the "Arts & Crafts press 'par excellence.'"
(CCS1922)

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THE POEMS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE. ESSEX HOUSE PRESS, WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE.
THE POEMS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE.
THE POEMS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE.

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