Tag Archives: witch exhibition halloween rylands manchester

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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Malleus Maleficarum from 1494

A fantastic new exhibition has just opened at the Rylands Library, just in time for All-Hallows-Even, A Witch! has some wonderful printed material on display. Included in the exhibition is the ‘Malleus Maleficarum (Hammer of the Witches) printed in 1494,  written by Dominican Monks, intended to instruct religious authorities on the heresy of witchcraft. Another interesting early book, written by King James I (then James VI of Scotland) Daemonologie in 1603, was written in order to educate his court on the reality of witches, and the dangers they posed.

The Exhibition runs until the 27th of November in The Christie Gallery. More information on this and other exhibitions and events at the Library can be found here.

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