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Opening from the Kelmscott Chaucer

William Morris had first conceived of this edition in the earliest days of the Kelmscott Press, but the project was not completed until just before his death. It is his crowning achievement as a book designer and remains the best-known of the 66 titles issued by his Press. It encapsulates his life-long fascination with books as a reader and writer, and his credo as a designer that texts should be printed with ‘a definite claim to beauty, while at the same time they should be easy to read’. He designed not only a bespoke ‘Chaucer’ type for this edition, but also the white pigskin binding, the title page, and the borders, initials, and frames. The illustrations were entrusted to Edward Burne-Jones, and eighty-five of his delicate preparatory pencil drawings and letters discussing their execution are also preserved at the Fitzwilliam Museum.