Geoffrey Chaucer

Geoffrey Chaucer. The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. London: Kelmscott Press, 1896.

Printed by noted English designer William Morris (1834-1896) at his Kelmscott Press, this is considered by many critics to be one of the most beautiful books in the world.  Morris developed the type and designed the title page, borders, initials, and frames, as well as the white pigskin binding used for 50 special copies of the book (the entire press run was 438).  Edward Burne-Jones executed the illustrations.

The ambitious volume was intended to channel 15th-century design elements in keeping with Chaucer’s text and Morris’s arts and crafts aesthetic.  The results are deeply colored by Morris’s Victorian lens.  

Link: The British Library – Kelmscott Chaucer