• Morris in Print: A History of the Kelmscott Press

“I began printing books with the hope of producing some which would have a definite claim to beauty, while at the same time they should be easy to read and should not dazzle the eye.” – William Morris, 1895

In this talk, Mallory Horrill, Curator at the William Morris Society, explores Morris’s last great artistic venture, The Kelmscott Press. 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 talk will explore Morris’s book printing enterprise and briefly examine its significant legacy. Mallory will share a number of rarely seen objects from the Society’s Kelmscott Press collection, including the Kelmscott Chaucer and an original, working printing press, used for the Kelmscott Press. 

About Mallory Horrill

Mallory Horrill is Curator of Collections and Exhibitions at the William Morris Society, as well as Senior Curator of The Emery Walker Trust. 

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