Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press, 1891. First, Limited Edition. Small 4to, 8 x 5 7/8 inches (205 x 145 mm); pp. vi +197. One of 300 on Flower paper; printed in Golden type, THIS IS THE FIRST book printed by KELMSCOTT IN TWO COLORS; it is also the first book to feature the famous Kelmscott printer's mark, which in fact appears twice - at the end of the table of contents and on the colophon leaf at the end. Wood-engraved borders and initials designed by Morris. Original stiff vellum, yapp edges, gilt titling on spine, uncut, with four silk ties, (one is detached but present), a little soiling on the spine, pristine interiors.
This is an AUTOGRAPHED PRESENTATION COPY from WILLIAM MORRIS, in ink on front free endpaper "to Robert Smith, from William Morris, Nov. 5th 1891
[Peterson A2; Forman 126; Tomkinson, p. 108, no. 2; Ransom p. 325, no. 2].
The recipient, Robert Smith, was one of two business-like brothers employed originally in the London shop of Morris and Co., but later promoted to junior partner at Merton Abbey, the factory that Morris had set up on The River Wandle due to the conditions being perfect for his needs designing and printing his textiles and where some of his most iconic designs were created. Robert Smith and Frank Smith took over the management of the company in March 1890, leaving Morris to establish the Kelmscott Press. Peterson records several presentation copies to Robert Smith but not this one. Later in the COLLECTION of EMILIE B. GRIGSBY, the 'ward' of robber baron Charles Yerkes, who built the Chicago transit system and the Northern and Piccadilly lines in London. An American woman of wealth whose beauty and charm won a wide circle of fashionable friends in Edwardian and Georgian England. Her fine library was sold in New York by Anderson and Company in 1912, of which this was lot no. 613. Her loosely-inserted BOOKPLATE BY RENÉ LALIQUE, the only one designed by the famous glass designer known for his creations of glass art, perfume bottles, vases, jewellery, chandeliers, clocks and automobile hood ornaments.
Condition: near fine.
Item number: 314