Inspired by Morris' love and admiration for the concept of the medieval book, where text was handwritten and illuminated or printed with wood engraving 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). The first of the three types used for the Kelmscott Chaucer, the Troy type, appears 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 plants and ornament designs for the border as well as the title page. Burne-Jones produced the illustrations, 87 in all (in which 85 are extant and in the Fitzwilliam Museum). The book was printed at the Kelmscott Press, Upper Mall, Hammersmith. 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 at the Doves Bindery from a design by Morris; Birmingham's edition is one such copy. Included in the inside front cover are various newspaper clippings.

  • Presented by Colonel Harold Wilkinson, 1934.
  • © Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery


Association Artist Organisation
Illustrator Sir Edward Burne-Jones -
Engraver W H Hooper -
Assistant Douglas Cockerell -
Publisher - Kelmscott Press
Designer William Morris -
Book binder TJ Cobden-Sanderson -
Assistant R Catterson-Smith -
Photographer Sir Emery Walker -


Catalogue No. Venue Date(s)
Edward Burne-Jones: Victorian Artist-Dreamer
154b Birmingham Museum & Art Galleryy 1998-10-17 - 1999-01-17
154b Musée d'Orsay 1999-03-01 - 1999-06-06
Holy Grail Tapestries
- BMAG Gas Hall 2003-08-26 - 2003-12-??
Hidden Burne-Jones
60, ill. p. 43 Birmingham Musuem and Art Gallery 2007-04-04 - 2007-07-01
60, ill. p. 43 Leighton House, London 2007-10-14 - 2008-01-25


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

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