william s. peterson


The Kelmscott Press: A History of William Moriss’s Typographical Adventure
by William S. Peterson

“Everyone knows (or thinks he knows) what a Kelmscott Press book looks like: it is a massive folio printed in dense black type with large, overpowering wood-engraved initials, borders, and illustrations. Such at least is the popular notion of a typical Kelmscott product…

In reality, though Morris did, like most designers, develop a general typographical formula, he applied it to individual volumes with great subtlety and skill, so that there is no such thing as a single completely representative Kelmscott Press book.” (105)


“Robert Catterson-Smith, who worked closely with Morris in the preparation of the Kelmscott Press illustrations, offered this analysis of his employer’s mind: ‘He hated being asked questions which meant an effort at analysis. He appeared to be unable or unwilling to separate his feelings from anything he thought about. The beauty of the outside of things was enough fro his mind, he did not wish to probe the unseen.’” (122)