(London: Alexander Moring Ltd., The De La More Press, 1904). 154 x 112 mm. (6 x 4 1/2"). xxv, [3], 158 pp., [1] leaf (imprint). Edited and annotated by Walter William Skeat.

Charming contemporary tan pigskin, inlaid and gilt in the Arts & Crafts style, covers with delicate inlaid green morocco frame with inlaid cinquefoil flowers of honey brown morocco at corners and at center of vertical sides, this enclosing a central panel with two concentric inlaid four-lobed ornaments of green morocco, these and the outer frame with repeating gilt cinquefoils decorating the morocco, at center a wreath of 10 inlaid brown cinquefoils, the flowers connected by garlands of gilt dots, beads, and leaves, similar garlands draping from the flowers at corners and sides of outer frame, raised bands, spine compartments framed by gilt dots and circlets, with gilt cinquefoils at corners, two panels with gilt lettering, turns-ins framed by four gilt rules punctuated with gilt flowers, all edges gilt. Woodcut strapwork crest of The King's Classics on half title, engraved frontispiece of Griselda from "The Clerk's Tale." Binder's blank at front with ink presentation inscription dated January 1921. ◆Spine and edges of boards slightly darkened, otherwise fine, with few signs of use.

This is a volume inspired by the Arts & Crafts Movement, both inside and out. The De La More Press was founded by Alexander Moring in 1895, and, while not in the first rank with Ashendene, Kelmscott, and Doves, it nevertheless produced books of very respectable quality. The text here was published as part of the De La More King's Classics Series, which included a seven-volume edition of Chaucer done into modern English by Walter William Skeat (1835-1912), a leading expert on Early English and a prolific editor. Professor Skeat has given us five of Chaucer's tales--the "Prioress's Tale," the "Pardoner's Tale," the "Clerk's Tale" of Patient Griselda, the "Nun's Tale," and the "Tale of the Canon's Yeoman"--done into modern English iambic hexameter rhymed couplets that are purposefully archaic but very readable. According to DNB, "All Skeat's vast output is distinguished by accuracy in matter of fact, wide learning, and humanity, and most of it he produced without prospect of reward, out of devotion to his subject." Of greater interest here--because it is both unique and an interesting expression of the period--is the animated binding. Its innovative and ambitious design as well as its skillful execution reflect the work of a talented amateur, perhaps a student at one of the schools of Arts & Crafts that arose from the movement. It is not Sangorski & Sutcliffe, but it has very considerable charm.

Price: $2,250.00