THE LIFE AND DEATH OF JASON.

(Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press, 1895). 295 x 220 mm. (11 1/2 x 8 3/4"). 4 p.l., 353, [1] pp, [1] leaf (colophon). ONE OF 200 COPIES on paper (and six on vellum).

Original limp vellum, wallet edges, flat spine with gilt titling, new (very expertly replaced) silk ties. Woodcut printer's device, large and small initials, numerous pages with foliated three-quarter borders, first opening of text with full decorative borders, and two full-page wood engravings by Edward Burne-Jones. Printed in red and black in Troy type. Peterson A-34; Sparling 34; Tomkinson, p. 116. Binding slightly soiled and a little wavy, one leaf with neatly repaired short, marginal tear (perhaps done before printing), otherwise a very fine copy, especially bright and fresh internally.

This is a well-preserved copy of the handsome Kelmscott edition of one of the two most important of Morris' epic narratives (the other being the "The Earthly Paradise" of 1868). "Jason," a retelling of the Argosy quest for the Golden Fleece and of Jason's life with Medea, was the book that first established a poetic reputation for Morris, and is presented here as printed by his own press. William Morris (1834-96) was the most important figure in the revival of printing in England at the end of the 19th century, and his Kelmscott Press, founded in 1891, marked the beginning of the modern private press movement. As Feather says, Morris "looked back to the Middle Ages as a period when free craftsmen, untrammelled by capitalism, pursued their avocations and produced objects which were both useful and aesthetically worthwhile. He became involved with the Arts and Crafts Society, which sought to promote guild socialism to revive this lost world. The Kelmscott Press was a product of this ethos, the immediate influence being Emery Walker's famous lecture on typography to the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society in November 1888." Seeking to revive what he considered to be the purity of printing's first century, Morris says in his "Note" about the press, which took the form of the final Kelmscott book, that he "began printing books with the hope of producing some which would have a definite claim to beauty, while at the same time they should be easy to read and should not dazzle the eye, or trouble the intellect of the reader by eccentricity of form in the letters." This was an understatement of the first order: his press produced 53 titles in 66 volumes, all of them notable in some way, along with three memorable typefaces.
(ST15782)

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PJP Catalog: 76.213

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF JASON. KELMSCOTT PRESS, WILLIAM MORRIS.
THE LIFE AND DEATH OF JASON.
THE LIFE AND DEATH OF JASON.
THE LIFE AND DEATH OF JASON.

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