Tag Archives: facsimilie

New ebooktreasures release: The Kelmscott Chaucer

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The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, which took four years to complete, is a masterpiece of book design and is acknowledged widely as the zenith of 19th-century book production. It contains 87 wood-engraved illustrations by the Pre-Raphaelite painter Edward Burne-Jones (1833-98). Burne-Jones worked on the Chaucer designs only on Sundays when Morris, his life-long friend, would visit to talk as he drew. In addition to the Chaucer typeface – a smaller version of the Troy type – Morris himself designed for the book the woodcut title, 14 large borders, 18 different frames and 26 initial words. The text of The Canterbury Tales is based on the Ellesmere manuscript, and the remaining text on Professor Walter William Skeat’s (1835-1912) edition of Chaucer for the OUP.
The Kelmscott Chaucer was completed in June 1896, just months before Morris’s death. This copy –  one of 425 copies  printed on paper – was purchased by Mrs Enriqueta Augustina Rylands (1843-1908), the founder of The John Rylands Library, for her personal collection. The Library also holds one of the 13 copies printed on vellum.
The Kelmscott Press, set-up in 1891 by the designer and craftsman William Morris (1834-96), was the most famous and influential British private press. Inspired by the hand presses of the 15th century, Morris supervised all details of production, including the choice of ink and paper, the design of the type and the use of ornaments and illustration.

An eBookTreasures facsimile edition can now be downloaded from iTunes here.

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Japan: described and illustrated by the Japanese

The cover of Volume one

Recently, we have been working again with the Folio Society, fresh after the release of the beautiful Birds of Paradise, on our next facsimile, Japan: described and illustrated by the Japanese. The original edition dates back to 1897, of which the Rylands holds number 496 of 700 copies. The 10 volume set contains over 500 hand-tinted original photographs, as well as 10 paintings depicting various legends and Japanese traditions. A great detailed look can be found here.

Street Vendor selling sweets, blown into shapes like glass

As with the Birds of Paradise volume, the Japanese facsimile will be presented slightly differently, this time in 2 volumes, with a beautiful binding by Neil Gower. Check Joe Whitlock-Blundell from the Folio Society’s blog for updates on production.

The newly designed binding

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