LETTERS FROM THE 15TH CENTURY: ON THE ORIGINS OF THE KELMSCOTT CHAUCER TYPEFACE, A STUDY, WITH SPECIMEN LEAVES, OF THE INFLUENCE OF THE EARLY GERMAN PRINTERS ON WILLIAM MORRIS' MASTERPIECE. Phillip J. Pirages.
LETTERS FROM THE 15TH CENTURY: ON THE ORIGINS OF THE KELMSCOTT CHAUCER TYPEFACE, A STUDY, WITH SPECIMEN LEAVES, OF THE INFLUENCE OF THE EARLY GERMAN PRINTERS ON WILLIAM MORRIS' MASTERPIECE.

LETTERS FROM THE 15TH CENTURY: ON THE ORIGINS OF THE KELMSCOTT CHAUCER TYPEFACE, A STUDY, WITH SPECIMEN LEAVES, OF THE INFLUENCE OF THE EARLY GERMAN PRINTERS ON WILLIAM MORRIS' MASTERPIECE.

(Leaf Book).
  • McMinnville, OR: Phillip J. Pirages, 2019.
  • folio clamshell box, text is 8vo
  • linen-backed paper boards, cloth clamshell
  • ii, 75 pages

Price: $2,500.00  other currencies

Order Nr. 133674

One of 165 copies for sale, of which this is one of 32 copies in linen-backed paper boards featuring Kelmscott Leaves with text only. This unique leaf book combines three elements - a significant private press production, a substantial scholarly commentary that contributes to a further understanding of printing history, and a collection of five leaves: one from the Kelmscott Press Works of Geoffrey Chaucer and four from books issued by German printers Morris most admired.

Written and issued by Phillip J. Pirages, the work has been produced by gifted professionals; the study addresses a topic of significance to typophiles in a considerably more throughgoing way than has been done before; and the assemblage of leaves represents a powerful visual reinforcement of the commentary.

The text will present information about Morris' life and library, pull together previous relevant observations in an entirely new way, and provide remarks about the early printers and the leaves included as part of this production. Most important, the study will show, as objectively as possible, likenesses between the early letterforms and those of the Chaucer by comparing each of Morris' letters with each of the corresponding letters in the typefaces of Schoeffer, Mentelin, Zainer, and Koberger. And because of the assemblage of leaves, readers will not only be able to learn from the text about the influence on Morris of his typographic forebears, but also to compare with their own eyes the resemblances between the Kelmscott leaf and the leaves from four centuries earlier.

From Phillip J. Pirages' website: "a unique leaf book in the way that it combines three elements: a significant private press production involving people at the top of their craft, a scholarly commentary that contributes to a further understanding of the history of printing, and--most important--five leaves: one from the Kelmscott Press "Works" of Geoffrey Chaucer and four from books issued by German printers at work in the 1470s. The physical object has been set and bound by hand and printed letterpress, all by gifted professionals; the essay addresses a topic of significance to typophiles in a considerably more thoroughgoing way than has been done before; and the assemblage of leaves represents a powerful visual reinforcement of the text, as well as an opportunity to share in the ownership of four important incunabula, along with the extraordinary Kelmscott Chaucer. The story of the production is heavy on serendipity: in the winter of 2012, after purchasing a very incomplete copy of the Kelmscott Chaucer at auction, we considered the possibility of producing a leaf book, but because the Chaucer--universally considered to be one of the most beautiful books ever printed--had been written about by so many different people in so many different ways, we didn't know what aspect was left for us to explore. The one topic we fastened on as thus far inadequately examined is the origin of the work's typeface. We soon learned that Morris, who is known to have owned more than 500 incunables, most admired--and was, consequently, most likely to have been influenced in his typographic design by--Peter Schoeffer of Mainz, Johann Mentelin of Strassburg, G√ľnther Zainer of Augsburg, and Anton Koberger of Nuremberg. Over the course of the years succeeding the purchase of the defective Chaucer, we were fortunate beyond all expectation to acquire incomplete books from each of these four eminent printers. As a result, the present leaf book will allow the reader not only to read in the accompanying essay about the influence on Morris of his typographic forebears, but also to compare with his or her own eyes the resemblances between the Kelmscott leaf and the leaves from four centuries earlier."