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The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer Now Newly Imprinted

The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer Now Newly Imprinted, 1896

87 woodcut illustrations by Burne-Jones on vellum, bound in full white-tooled pigskin.
338mm x 297mm
Presented by Colonel and Mrs Howard Wilkinson, in memory of Norman Wilkinson, 1934.

Accession Number:



Kelmscott Chaucer, first edition; one of 48 copies bound in white pigskin leather.


Exhibition History

1998-99 Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery; Musee d'Orsay
2007 Birmingham Musuem and Art Gallery


F G Stephens. Review. Athenaeum: October 3, 1896. p. 444.
Sydney Cockerell. A Note by William Morris on His Aims in Founding the Kelmscott Press. Hammersmith: 1898. p. 6.
Georgiana Burne-Jones. Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones. Macmillan, London: 1903. Vol. II: p. 259.
H. Halliday Sparling. The Kelmscott Press and William Morris. London: 1924. p. 92.
Penelope Marcus. Burne-Jones: The Paintings, Graphic and Decorative Work. Arts Council of Great Britain: 1975. p. 86.
William S. Peterson. A Bibliography of the Kelsmscott Press. Oxford University Press, Oxford: 1984. pp. xxix-xxx, III.
William S. Peterson. The Kelmscott Press: A History of William Morris's Typographical Adventure. Oxford University Press, Oxford: 1991. pp. 13, 45.
John Dreyfus. 'The Kelmscott Press' . William Morris, Edited by Linda Parry, Victoria & Albert Museum, London: 1996. pp. 312,315, 316, 321, 331-38.
Laura Irene Vernon. William Morris: Beauty in Books. Moreton Community Print Shop: 2002. pp. 9, 17-18, 29, 33, 63, 64-66.
Elisa Korb with John Christian and Tessa Sidey. Hidden Burne-Jones, Works on paper by Edward Burne-Jones from Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery. Dan Giles, Ltd., London: 2007. p. 65, B70.

Research Information:

Inspired by Morris' love and admiration for the concept of the medieval book, where text was handwritten and illuminated or printed with woodcut illustrations, bound in leather, clasped over wooden bands (in particular, Giovanni Boccacio's 'De Claris Muliebribus' printed in 1473, of which Morris had a copy). Morris used many of the printing type fonts in the various publications the Kelmscott Press produced. The first for the Kelmscott Chaucer, the Troy type, was used in early specimens for 'The Franklin's Tale' from 'The Canterbury Tales', which dates from June 1891.

The earliest designs for the Kelmscott Chaucer date to February 1893 when Morris produced designs for the border as well as the title page. Burne-Jones produced the illustrations, 87 in all (85 of which are extant and in the Fitzwilliam Museum). Morris announced that four different styles of binding would be produced for the text, the most luxurious edition of 48 bound in either full or half pigskin white leather; BMAG's edition is one such copy. Included in the pages are letters between Morris and Professor Skeat, dated 1896, with various newspaper clippings.