1892. The Golden Legend. From Morris's famous Kelmscott Press! With a SIGNED LETTER by MORRIS!
Author: De Voragine, Jacobus; William CAXTON
Title: The Golden Legend
Publisher: Hammersmith: William Morris at the Kelmscott Press
Pages: xii 464, 465-864, 865-1286 (numbering is continuous over the 3 volumes)
Size: 11.75" by 8.5"
Condition: Very Good original binding, Fine text
Truly a rare beauty -- Morris's Kelmscott Press produced some of the world's finest printings during its short-lived effort to produce just such books. This is one of only 500 copies. The paper, the type, and the woodcut engravings were meant to mimic those of Caxton's period. The result is a book of extreme quality and beauty. Though the Golden Legend was to be one of the earlist books produced by Morris's Kelmscott Press, there were many delays in the monumental undertaking. The letter, from Morris, being sold with this copy, hints at the great amount of pride he took in this particular book -- the letter reads, in part, as follows:
August 4 -- "I take the opportunity of drawing your attention to the Golden Legend reprinted from Caxton's Edition of 1483 which I am Printing at the Kelmscott Press, and which Bernard Quaritch is going to publish: it will be a big book, and I think a very important one on literary historical and typographical grounds." -- William Morris
.... and they are big books! And they are exactly what he intended them to be according to his own words! This is a chance to not only own this wonderful printing but to also own part of the story of its creation, in Morris's own hand. Not only that, but they are presented uncut and in the original publisher's bindings.
The signed letter is written on Kelmscott stationary and does have a few creases as it was originally folded. Internally, all volumes are practically like new. There are only a few pages showing some very light toning or foxing (you will have to search to find these) and the rest (more than 99%) are clean, crisp, like new. There are no loose or missing pages. Internally, the set is about as it would have been in 1892 when it was printed. The pages are large and rough cut (except for on the top) as they have never been trimmed or cut. The ends are a bit dusty as one would expect. The bindings do bear some flaws. Cloth over paper boards. The front hinge to volume one is tender with the cloth having split, but still all intact. Corners lightly bumped, rubbed. Heads and tails of spine showing some frays and the base of one volume with slight tear. Portions of the paper title label to volume one missing, though a portion of this chipped label is in an envelope and will be sent along with the set. Overall, this is an incredible book with an incredible history, sold with a portion of its history, a signed letter by Morris.
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