Kelmscott Press Collection


Kelmscott Press Collection


The Kelmscott Press, based in Hammersmith, London, was set up by William Morris (1834-1896), English textile designer, poet, novelist, translator, and socialist activist, in order 'to produce books which it would be a pleasure to look upon as pieces of printing and arrangement of type'. The results of Morris's 'little typographical adventure' are now regarded as some of the famous examples of private-press printing in the English language. The collection brings together Kelmscott books previously held in the Library's general collections (Kelmscott items in other special collections have been kept in their existing collections). The Library has a complete set of all the 53 published works undertaken by the Press between 1891 and 1898 intended for public sale. The collection also includes three vellum sheets from the Kelmscott Press edition of the works of Chaucer, published in 1896 and generally regarded as one of the most beautiful books printed in the English language.


The books have been catalogued individually and have the shelfmark 'KP.'.


Some of the Kelmscott books were acquired by the Advocates Library through legal deposit, the rest have been received by donation or have been purchased. The vellum sheets from the Kelmscott Chaucer were donated to the Library in 1926 by William Morris's daughter May.


'The Kelmscott Press: a history of William Morris's typographical adventure', WS Peterson, Oxford, 1991.

Online resources

Private press books in the Library's collections




Private presses