Sale  697
Lot   331
[MORRIS, William, his copy] -- [KELMSCOTT PRESS]. MORRIS, William (1834-1896). Gothic Architecture: A Lecture for the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society. Hammersmith: The Kelmscott Press, 1893. 

16mo (145 x 102 mm). Printed in Golden type in black and red, 6-line and 40-line initial capitals, title-page printed in red and black, shoulder notes printed in red. Original holland-backed blue paper boards, printed title on upper cover, uncut (spine ends slightly frayed, some minor soiling or spotting to covers, spine, and fore-edge, hinges loose, vellum pastedowns slightly lifting at edges). Provenance: William Morris (signed and dated "William Morris Nov: 9th 1893" on second blank leaf, his Kelmscott House Hammersmith bookplate).


One of 45 copies on vellum of a total edition of 1,545, FIRST ISSUE, with the mis-prints "gilds" for "guilds" in the shoulder note on p. 41, and "Van Eck" instead of "Van Eyck" p. 45 line 1. According to Peterson, the second state readings are present in both the second and third impressions and in all the vellum copies (unlike the present copy, and possibly unique).

Work on the book began in August 1893, before production moved to the New Gallery for the annual Arts and Crafts Exhibition.  It "was printed in public, under the eyes of an interested and constantly renewed crowd, whose presence imposed a severe strain upon the pressman Collins's Celtic modesty" (Sparling, The Kelmscott Press and William Morris Master-Craftsman, 1924, p. 87). "It was the first book printed in 16mo. The four-line initials used in it appear here for the first time." (Cockerell 18). Peterson A18 (recording another copy on vellum with Morris's bookplate and a note by Cockerell recording its sale to Henry Gamman, later offered in the sale of the Estelle Doheny Collection, Christie's New York, 19 May 1989, lot 2303).

One of 8 copies printed on vellum of a total edition of 233. At Morris's request, starting in October 1892, Cockerell spent several years studying and cataloguing Morris's collection of medieval manuscripts and incunabula; resulting from this project, Morris planned to issue a heavily illustrated catalogue of his library. After Morris's death, the project was abandoned. Rather than print the work elsewhere, Cockerell "decided to combine the illustrations of woodcuts that had already been prepared... with portions of an article by Morris, 'On the Artistic Qualities of the Woodcut Books of Ulm and Augsburg in the Fifteenth Century.' ...The book sold briskly before publication. 'There has been a great rush on the German woodcuts & they were all sold out last week,' Cockerell wrote to Leighton on 30 November 1897.'...A good many people have been left out in the cold, as orders keep coming in! I suppose it is the announcement that the Press is closing that has made people so eager'" (Peterson). Cockerell 49; Peterson A49.

Edith Rockefeller McCormick, daughter of John D. Rockefeller, married Harold Fowler McCormick, son of Cyrus Hall McCormick, and was prominent in Chicago social and cultural circles, supporting numerous social causes.  She was a charter member of the Art Institute, supporting it both financially and with loans of works from her extensive art collection. McCormick also helped found the Grand Opera Company in 1909. A generous contributor to the Zurich Psychological society, she spearheaded the effort to have Carl Jung's writings translated into English. The sale of her library in 1934 included over 120 works by John Ruskin by the Doves Bindery, as well as 9 works printed on vellum by the Kelmscott Press. 

AN EXCEPTIONALLY FINE COPY, RARE PRINTED ON VELLUM, IN A VARIANT BINDING: We trace no copies of Some German Woodcuts printed on vellum at auction; we find no other copy of this work thus bound in vellum. 

  • Estimate$6,000 - $8,000

Sold for $15,000

Sold prices are inclusive of Buyer’s Premium