Press Release: The Kelmscott Press and Its Legacies

A one-day symposium hosted by The William Morris Society

6 November 2021

Venue: St Bride Foundation, London

In 2021 it will be 125 years since the publication of the Kelmscott Chaucer, the crowning glory of Morris’s book printing venture. The William Morris Society is fortunate to own one of Morris’s original printing presses as well as a collection of Kelmscott Press books, original designs and proof pages.

The Kelmscott Press was Morris’s last great artistic venture. With the support of his friend and collaborator Emery Walker, Morris established a book printing operation near his home in Hammersmith. His respect for traditional craftsmanship, search for perfection in design and love of literature all came together in the books produced by the Kelmscott Press. The most ambitious of these was the complete works of Chaucer, described by Edward Burne-Jones as ‘like a pocket cathedral’. Published just months before Morris’s death, it embodies his highest design ideals.

This symposium will examine aspects of the Kelmscott Press’s activities, history and legacies. The event will also be livestreamed for those who prefer to attend virtually.

Keynote speakers: Dr Marcus Waithe (University of Cambridge), ‘Pocket Cathedrals: Craftsmanship, Architecture, and the Kelmscott Press’; Yoshiko Yamamoto (Arts & Crafts Press, Tacoma)

Panel discussions will include presentations from Yuri Cowan (Norwegian University of Science and Technology); Robin A. Wilson (Keble College, Oxford); Robin A. Wilson and R. Fairfax-Cholmeley (Bodleian Bibliographic Press); David Mabb (Goldsmiths College); Peter Tanner (University of Utah); Brandiann Molby (Loyola University Chicago); Tracy Messerve (Arthur D. Jenkins Library, George Washington University Museum and Textile Museum); John Stirling (Trustee, The William Morris Society); Sarah Hardy (De Morgan Foundation).

The full programme may be accessed here. Booking is now open through Eventbrite.

Notes for editors:

Images of the Kelmscott Chaucer and the Society’s Albion press are available here.

For further information or images please contact Cathy De’Freitas

societymanager@williammorrissociety.org

About The William Morris Society

The William Morris Society exists to make better known the life, work and ideas of William Morris, designer, craftsman, poet and socialist. The Society’s headquarters and museum are in the Coach House and basement of Kelmscott House, Morris’s Hammersmith home for the last eighteen years of his life.

For more information visit www.williammorrissociety.org

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