(Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press, 1897). 210 x 146 mm. (8 1/4 x 5 3/4"). 2 p.l. (including woodcut map at front), 507, [1] pp. ONE OF 300 COPIES on paper (and 10 on vellum).

Original holland-backed blue paper boards, front cover with titling, flat spine with paper label at head, edges untrimmed. Front pastedown with line-block map drawn by H. Cribb, elaborate woodcut border and initial on first page of text, and woodcut borders and initials at the beginning of each chapter, small woodcut initials throughout, Kelmscott device at end. Front free endpaper with book label of Laurence W. Hodson, printed for him at the Kelmscott Press. Peterson A-51; Sparling 51; Walsdorf, "William Morris" 51. A tiny chip out of spine label, otherwise as fine a copy as one will find of this fragile item, VIRTUALLY PRISTINE INTERNALLY.

Dated 1897, but issued in February of 1898, this was the last romance written by William Morris and the final book but two to be produced at the Kelmscott Press. The story of brave Osberne, who rescues his kidnapped lover Elfhild with the help of his magical sword, Broadcleaver, brings elements of Medieval tales of chivalry into what is considered an early example of the modern fantasy genre, with supernatural elements and created worlds. Because of the failing health of Morris, the last few pages were written down from his dictation by Sydney Cockerell, and the work appeared posthumously, being printed from an uncorrected manuscript and seen through the press by Morris’ wife, Jane. Because of the thickness of the book and the insubstantial materials the binding is made of, fine copies of this title are especially difficult to find. The present copy owes its superb condition to Laurence Hodson, the original owner and one of the first connoisseurs to appreciate the works of the private press revival. A man described by Sydney Cockerell as "facile princeps" (i.e., "easily the chief") collector of Kelmscott Press books, he obviously considered books as artifacts to be carefully protected, rather than objects to be read, and works from his library, which remained intact for over a century until 2013, are notable for their outstanding condition.

Add to Cart Price: $3,500.00

PJP Catalog: 74.210


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