(Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press, 1896). 297 x 215 mm. (11 1/2 x 8 1/4"). 2 p.l., 496 pp. ONE OF 350 COPIES on paper (and eight on vellum).
Original limp vellum, yapp edges, three (of six) silk ties, spine titled in gilt. In a gray marbled paper clamshell box. Woodcut borders and initials designed by Morris and FOUR DOUBLE-PAGE OPENINGS WITH WHITE VINE BORDERS AND A WOOD-ENGRAVED ILLUSTRATION by W. H. Hooper after Sir Edward Burne-Jones. Printed in red and black in Chaucer type. Front pastedown with wood-engraved bookplate of Laz[arus]. Goldschmidt. Peterson A-39; Sparling 39; Forman 164; Dreyfus, "William Morris: Typographer," p. 88. Small crease to vellum near head of spine, one gathering with light foxing to tail margin, otherwise (and excepting the missing ties) a very fine copy, quite clean, fresh, and bright inside and out.
This is a very pleasing copy of Morris' fantasy novel, which spent so much more time in production than any other Kelmscott Press publication that Morris himself began to refer to it as "The Interminable." Printing commenced in December 1892 and only finished in March 1896, the delay due in part to difficulties with the illustrations. Having originally announced that Charles Fairfax Murray would illustrate the book, Morris then commissioned Arthur J. Gaskin to carry out the work, but his designs were ultimately rejected in favor of those of Burne-Jones. According to Dreyfus, Morris was greatly pleased with the "magnificent and inimitable" illustrations of Burne-Jones. "These gave Morris particular satisfaction because they formed not only a series of most beautiful and imaginative pictures, but also made 'the most harmonious decoration possible to the printed book.'" Our copy was once in the library of bibliophile, scholar, and translator Lazarus Goldschmidt (1871-1950), whose major work was a translation of the entire Babylonian Talmud into German. (ST15032)
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PJP Catalog: RBMS19.022