Special Collections and University Archives has recently enlarged its holdings of materials related to British designer William Morris (1834-1896), including the purchase of two printed leaves from Kelmscott Press’s The works of Geoffrey Chaucer and the cataloguing of a sixteenth century book printed by Wynken de Worde that was previously part of Morris’s personal library at Kelmscott House.
Ex libris: From the library of William Morris
During recent conservation work, staff noted the presence of William Morris’s bookplate in a copy of Andrew Chertsey’s translated Floure of the commandments of God (ESTC S117724). The notable printer Wynken de Worde (d. 1534) printed this book at his London print shop on Fleet Street on September 13, 1510. The text was translated from the French La fleur des commandements de Dieu (1496), and it recounts stories of disobedient behavior and terrible punishments, with the aim to frighten readers into virtuous living. The bookseller’s description is tipped in on the inside cover which states that, “every story almost, partakes of the marvellous to a greater or less extent, and as persuasives they should prove successful, provided of course the receptive mind had a little of the 15th century credulity in such matters.”