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The Kelmscott Press

12th March 2019

In 1891, William Morris rented a cottage near Kelmscott House and set up three printing presses. These formed the Kelmscott Press where Morris and the Press team designed, printed and manufactured beautifully intricate editions of over fifty books which equalled 18,000 volumes. The images within this blog were kindly sent to us by our friends at the William Morris Society and are photos from editions; ‘News from Nowhere’, ‘Nature of Gothic’ and ‘Well at the World’s End.’

Morris is famed for his interest in all the details and during this time of the Victorian industrialisation, he was passionate about keeping the traditional methods of craftsmanship and artistry. Printing books was no different and before he set up the press he was interested in fine books and their printing – it makes sense when you remember that he was a writer himself. In fact, during his lifetime he was actually best known as a poet. The medieval works that he was a fan of were full of intricate details and illustrations that you can see on the photos below. The books that he printed included the works of Shelley, Keats and Tennyson to name a few – as well as his own work of course.

It goes without saying that books such as these, printed and bound with such precision and care were expensive. The Kelmscott Press had typefaces designed by Morris himself, he made his own paper and each page was printed by hand. The result is stunning but of course, the cost was high to be able to enjoy these works. They’re works of art in their own right and are made to be treated as such. Each page is meant to be read slowly, to view the details of the designs that surround it – it’s not just the words that are important here but everything that has made up the book. We don’t appreciate these in modern books but you can see how the below builds that relationship between words and art and really makes the words more treasured as an art form as they should be.

The knowledge he already had at this time of block printing as well as his talent at calligraphy ensured his success as a type designer – at the Kelmscott Press he designed three type faces named, “Chaucer,” “Golden” and “Troy.” He was hugely inspired by 15th Century type when he designed all three fonts and studied them to see how they overcame the difficulties with using such delicate and intricate lettering.

He made over 600 designs for these borders, title pages and inscriptions throughout the final years of his life. As always, he made his work to impeccable standards – using pure linen rag instead of paper to model it on 15th century Bolognese paper. The ink used named from Jaenecke (a German firm.) He wanted to make his own but gave up on the idea because he wanted to be absolutely sure of the quality of ingredients and their longevity.

The Kelmscott Press was one of the last projects Morris worked on before his death in 1896. The Kelmscott Press was, of course, named after his beloved country house, Kelmscott Manor. You can see below the actual Press, a photo sent to us by friends at the William Morris Society. 

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We hope you’re having a lovely Easter 🐣 Choccy treats galore with some beautiful Morris florals, what more could we want! 🌷🤍
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Morris fan? There’s 15% off our entire collection of licensed William Morris fabrics and products, this Easter weekend only! 🐣 Use code: EASTER15 at checkout, on our website only, until Monday at midnight 🌙 Enjoy this Easter treat from us! 🤍
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We love all the beautiful spring florals this time of year 🌷 We’ve also not been able to resist starting early on the Easter treats! 🐣
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Introducing Daisy, our latest William Morris licensed design 🌿 Daisy was the second wallpaper William Morris designed, but the first to be produced in 1864, so it remains a special design to every Morris fan ✨ It must have been a favourite of Morris himself, as embroideries of Daisy were used to decorate at the stunning Red House, Morris's home in Bexleyheath. 
We hope you love Daisy as much as we do! Available now on our website, in a limited range of products, fabric is coming soon! ☺️
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A fabric stack of William Morris floral dreams 🤍
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Spring floral ready with our William Morris Willow Bough table setting 🌿 Do your weekend plans also revolve around tea/coffee and baked goods? 🤍
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Monday done right, laying the table with our beautiful licensed William Morris Willow Bough green tablecloth, completed with a @bettys treat 🥰 
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A little fabric stack of our William Morris florals, waiting to be crafted into a project 🪡 Can you name them all from the little peak? 🌿 
All our fabrics are printed in the UK and are licensed William Morris designs, printed both size and colour wise to our own specification ✨ If you’d like a sample, just send us a message 📬
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Showcasing our licensed William Morris Lily fabric, it’s so light and bright it’s making us excited for Spring! 🌿
Designed by William Morris in 1874, it incorporates the willow background with lilies and wild flowers ✨ The design must have been well loved by Morris himself- it was the wallpaper he used to decorate his bedroom at Kelmscott Manor, his home in Lechlade, Gloucestershire 🌿
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Thrilled with our reupholstered chair, brought back to life with our heavyweight William Morris Willow Bough Green 🌿 It’s amazing what a pop of colour and a floral will do to a room 🤍 If you fancy learning how we did this upcycle, we’ll write a blog on it ☺️ 
& if you’re in the UK and would like a sample of any of our fabrics, please let us know 📮
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The different weights of fabric 🧵 We have four weights of fabrics; cotton, heavyweight, drill and pvc, all work well for different projects. For a free sample, please feel free to message us and we’ll get them sent out to you 📮
✨ For our 100% cotton, it’s great for quilting, dress making and more, our lightest weight of cotton
✨ Our heavyweight cotton is perfect for curtains and light upholstery, a heavier fabric than our 100% cotton 
✨ Our drill cotton fabric is our heaviest weave fabric, suitable for light upholstery 
✨ Our PVC is our pvc/oilcloth coated cotton fabric, brilliant as a table covering, it’s sold by the half metre and as it won’t fray, is great to put straight on the table 🌿

The cotton, heavyweight and drill cotton are all 152cm wide and the pvc fabric is 140cm wide. All are sold by the half metre 📏
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In January when the Christmas sparkles come down, we’ve got to bring out even more Morris florals to make sure the house still feels sparkly and beautiful ✨ if you’re also looking to revamp any of the home and looking for a licensed William Morris design for a pop of colour, get in touch for any samples so you can choose which works in your home 🤍
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#williammorris #morris #strawberrythief #preraphaelite #onlinefabric #onlinefabricstore #fabrics #williammorrisfabric
Our blue Strawberry Thief oven gloves are back in stock, just in time for Christmas! 🎄 will you be gifting some Morris floral magic this year? Or hope to be receiving some! 🎁 Our matching sets of kitchenware and tableware are very popular this time of year, remember if you’re sending direct to your loved one, you can select for the items to be gift wrapped at checkout on our website! 🌟
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Our Black Friday sale is now live! 🥂 On our website only, use code, BLACKFRIDAY10 all weekend for 10% off your order ☺️ Ends Sunday at midnight 🌙
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Dreaming of the sunshine 💭 This is our smallest size of tote bag, in our licensed William Morris Strawberry Thief, on this bike ride we were pretty happy that it was filled to the brim with snacks to eat on the beach ☀️ On Wintery nights we love to look back on the sunshine! ☁️
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We're so thrilled our new website is now live! 🌿Just in time for Christmas shopping, it's much easier to use, and still full of beautiful licensed William Morris designs on every page! We hope you like the change, especially where lots of you are featured on the new 'inspiration' page! 🌟 We absolutely love that it showcases everyones tablescapes and craft projects, just click on them to see the design and who posted the photo so you can see more of their content ☺️ If you're happy for us to use your photos, just send us a message, we'd love it to be a page we can keep adding to throughout the seasons 🪴
Special thank you to @adigi_agency for creating our website, we love it! 🤍
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A few of our licensed William Morris designs all hanging out, aren’t they iconic! It’s amazing that you can see a Morris print and instantly know it’s his design 🌿
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