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William Morris

The Tale of King Coustans the Emperor and of Over Sea

Hammersmith, Middlesex, England: Kelmscott Press, 1894. Stk. PR 5079 E5 1894.

Morris’s literary preferences lay in the Middle Ages, and with medieval texts. One such Kelmscott publication comprised two medieval French romances translated by Morris into his own special brand of archaic-sounding English. Borders of twining leaves, woodcut foliated three-line initials, and designs by Burne-Jones enhance these love stories. This book, one of 525 copies, was completed on 30 August 1894, and cost 7s 6d. By acknowledging John Ruskin’s influence, Morris learnt that ‘art is the expression of man’s pleasure in labour.’ He is aptly described as the Father of the Arts and Craft Movement.