Chaucer's Works

  • "The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer Now Newly Imprinted"
  • By William Morris
  • Edited by F.S. Ellis
  • Ornamented with pictures designed by Sir Edward Burne-Jones
  • Engraved on wood by W.H. Hooper
  • Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, London, 1896
  • Book: 440mm x 310mm x 75mm
  • Box: 488mm x 365mm x 120mm
  • Bound in 2018

The book design is based on one of Chaucer's poems from within the publication, “The Legend of Good Women”, which recounts stories of virtuous women. The legends are: Cleopatra, Thisbe, Dido, Hypsipyle, Medea, Lucrece, Ariadne, Philomela, Phyllis and Hypermnestra. Each women is represented by a flower or butterfly with the same name and they are worked into a bold, large-scale repeat design to tie in with the William Morris aesthetic.

The design is built up with a variety of very thinly-pared, coloured leather onlays. Once each of these was adhered in place each one was then meticulously embroidered using coloured and metallic embroidery threads to bring the design to life. A variety of embroidery stitches have been used across the book cover including French knots, running stitch, back stitch, couching and whipped stitches.

Further detail was applied to the cover with tooling, circular onlays and the addition of some gold-plated brass elements. Further embroidered floral detail adorns the endpapers and the book is housed in an oak box.   

For full information on how thsi bindign was made, please visit my blog site here.