HistoryWired About the Program Help Comments Smithsonian Institution
Back to Map


Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales"

"The works of Geoffrey Chaucer now newly imprinted"
This version of Geoffrey Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales" was prepared by Englishman William Morris and printed by the Kelmscott Press in 1896. Morris was a founding figure of the Arts and Crafts Movement of the late 1800s, which advocated the fine craftsmanship, rather than mass production, of decorative arts in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. The illustrations were drawn by his life-long friend, Edward Burne-Jones, while the elaborate borders and the special typeface were of Morris's design. According to Morris, the borders and typeface represented an effort to "redeem the Gothic character from the charge of unreadableness which is commonly brought against it." Whether he succeeded or not, the "Kelmscott Chaucer" remains a remarkable example of handcraft in the industrial age.

Geoffrey Chaucer, ca. 1340 - 1400, London England
William Morris, born March 24, 1834, Walthamstow, near London, England; died October 3, 1896, Hammersmith, near London, England
Web display only

Learn more!
· Making Type by Hand
· Printing Methods
· "General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales," by Geoffrey Chaucer

What do you think?
Would you like to see more objects like this on the site? Tell others by casting your vote.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Fewer More

Start HistoryWired | About the Program | Help | Comments

Smithsonian Institution | Terms of Use | Privacy