FAQs

Your Cart

Close
Paper Plane Your order qualifies for free standard delivery
Subtotal £0.00
Delivery £0.00
Order Total £0
Checkout Securely

The Kelmscott Press

1st July 2016

If you’ve ever read a history about William Morris- poet, socialist activist, writer and designer all of which he did with incredible dedication and proficiency, it will come as no surprise to also learn that between 1890-1896 he set up Kelmscott Press and mastered the skill of fine hand-printing. In total, the Press printed three books (which according to Helen Dore, an authority on William Morris, equalled 18, 234 volumes.)

kelmscott press

At this time, the craft of printing had dramatically declined and so Morris, being a lifelong lover of medieval manuscripts and books from the earliest points they were printed. The library at his home Kelmscott was filled, by his death, by over 1,000 of these early printed books that he had collected throughout his life. Therefore, the setting up of the Kelmscott Press seems a step that, like all his other endeavours, lies not far from his own interests and passions. “The aim of the Press was to revive the allied art crafts of type-designing, fine printing and book production, producing hand-printed limited editions on handmade paper. William Bowden and his son were employed as compositors.” (Helen Dore, William Morris, 1990)

Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 14.55.29

Morris aimed to revive the craft of printing which had become less popular due to commercial degradation. “As with the other decorative arts, he was not content just to design beautiful books, but went to considerable lengths to familiarise himself with all the materials and processes involved- the paper, ink, and the cutting and making of the type.” (Helen Dore, William Morris, 1990)

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 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.

Nature of Gothic

When looking at pages from books he printed, its amazing to see that he has made each page an individual work of art- 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. Every page printed by Joseph Batchelor for Kelmscott Press had a distinctive water mark which was designed by Morris of his initials with a primrose with a spring in its moth and an apple. “His authoritative Arts and Crafts essay on printing gives a survey of its early history and his own views on the principles of good typography, emphasising the importance of legibility; well laid-out pages (stressing that the double, not the single, page should always be considered the unity), with margins in due proportion to the type area. Although Morris excelled at decorative borders and initials, he also felt that books could be most beautiful in terms of typography alone, without any other ornament.” (Helen Dore, William Morris, 1990)

Below you can see the printing machine today as the William Morris Society re-create the process Morris used!

Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 14.55.42

Thank you to our wonderful friends at the William Morris Society for sending us the photos used in this blog!

 

Related Articles

Post Title

All Souls Church in Haley Hill, Halifax

  All Souls Church in Haley Hill, Halifax, is a Grade I listed building  which was commissioned by Edward Akroyd, the local highly successful textile...

Post Title

Heritage! The Battle for Britain’s Past

I wonder if you saw the programme on BBC4 last night entitled Heritage! The Battle for Britain's Past (Episode 1).  It was the first part...

Post Title

William Morris, The Oxford Years. It’s ‘memory has been an abiding influence and pleasure in my life.’

By his own admission, Morris' university years were the happiest of his life. Studying at Oxford University, he went to Exeter College to study theology....

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 🌙
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #preraphaelite #willowbough #tablescape #placemats #floraldesign
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! ☁️
•
•
•
#strawberrythief #williammorris #preraphaelite #morris #williammorrisdesign #totebag #summerdreaming #williammorrisfabric #coronado
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! 🤍
•
•
•
#williammorris #morris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #onlinefabrics #countrykitchendecor #christmasgiftsideas #newwebsitelaunch
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 🌿
•
•
•
#williammorris #morris #williammorrisdesign #teatowels #goldenlily #strawberrythief #willowbough #upholsteryfabric #curtainfabric #onlinefabricshop
Hands up if you’re a Golden Lily fan 🙋‍♀️ Our licensed William Morris design tea towels make excellent Christmas gifts if you’re writing your Christmas list!🎄 
•
•
•
#williammorris #goldenlily #teatowels #christmasgiftsideas #morris #williammorrisfabric #kitchenaccessories #preraphaelite #christmasgiftidea
Always brightening up the kitchen; Willow Bough 🌿 What a special design ✨
•
•
•
#williammorrisfabric #williammorris #teatowel #willowbough #williammorrisdesign #designs #preraphaelite #teatowelsofinstagram
“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life” - William Morris. Some days, for us, that means decorating our tables with napkin bows and settling down for a slice of cake! 🧁
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #morris #fabric #strawberrythief #preraphaelite #tablecloth #tablescape
Fabric stack of floral dreams 💭
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #fabric #onlinefabric #curtainfabric #upholsteryfabric #fabricstack
We'd say Morris more than succeeded, with timeless designs and words, it shows true beauty and art will never age 🌿 Morris wrote this quote in "The Well At The World's End: Volume I." Have you ever read much of his poetry or writing? ✍️
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #preraphaelite #fabrics #quotes #quotestoliveby #strawberrythief #williammorrisdesign #quotesdaily #quotestagram #morris #williammorrisfabricdesigns
A little fabric stack full of William Morris floral magic 🌿
Is anyone else a little excited that it's only 100 days until Christmas... or is it too soon to talk about? We're quite excited for Christmas crafts, food and films! ☺️ We wonder what your favourite Morris design is? Does it change based on season? 🎄 (it's far too early for this emoji but we're excited and can't help it, sorry.)
-
-
-
#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisdesign #design #strawberrythief #preraphaelite #cottonfabric #upholsteryfabric #curtainfabric #fabrics
Important conversation of the day at Laura's Beau HQ: who fancies a crumble and which is your favourite flavour? 🍎 Apple seems popular, so does rhubarb ☀️ One thing we can agree on is that we're all going to be baking them tonight - best get our fave oven gloves out! 👩‍🍳 These are our licensed William Morris Eyebright double oven gloves, isn't it such a beautiful pattern 🤍
-
-
-
#williammorris #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabric #morris #ovengloves #ovenglove #eyebright #inspiredbynature #inspiredbynature_ #florals #myfloralhome #floralhome #preraphaelite #mykitchenstyle
We were cutting our Strawberry Thief fabric today and the sunlight hit it perfectly, we couldn’t resist a picture 🌿 All our licensed William Morris designs are printed in the United Kingdom, and we sell it by the half metre 🪡 If you’re in the UK and would like a sample, just send us a message! 💌 
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisdesign #design #strawberrythief #preraphaelite #cottonfabric #upholsteryfabric #curtainfabric #fabrics
A close up of our beautiful licensed William Morris Trellis 😍 Isn't it such a timeless design, it was first designed in 1864, inspired by the rose trellis in Morris's garden at beautiful Red House 🌿 It was the first wallpaper Morris designed, along with Daisy and Fruit. 
Because the three designs were produced using a hand printing process, each colour needed a separate block and for the three designs it was 12 blocks each so was a long and expensive process. Therefore, they were all put on hold until the early 1870s when Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & co. had enough money to finance the designs 🎨We love the Trellis design, currently our tea towel is hanging over the cooker - we always wonder if Morris could ever have foreseen that his design in 1864 would be so well loved all these years later? 🤍
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorriswallpaper #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisdesigns #trellis #redhouse #philipwebb #teatowelsofinstagram #teatowel #preraphaelite #preraphaelites #independantbusiness #timelessdesign
William Morris designs are inspired by nature, so we love to see them in nature! 🌿 This beautiful Pimpernel Cream design was first designed by Morris in 1876 and is in our medium tote, we have lots of sizes for every occasion! 🤍
•
•
•
#williammorris #myfloralstyle  #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #springflowers #fabricshop #brotherrabbit #preraphaelite #totebag
What’s your favourite thing to make out of our licensed William Morris fabric? 🌿it’s always incredible to see what you create 🧵🪡
•
•
•
#williammorris #fabric #fabricdesign #kitchendecor #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabric #morris #kitchenaccessories #strawberrythief #inspiredbynature #inspiredbynature_ #florals #myfloralhome #floralhome #kitchenaccessory #preraphaelite #mykitchenmyhappyplace #mykitchenstyle #floralmagic
Did you know we have matching  kitchen accessories in a range of licensed Morris designs? 🌿 Perfect for pressies or treating yourself to bring a little Morris floral magic into your kitchen 🤍✨
•
•
•
#williammorris #kitchendesign #kitchendecor #kitchensofinstagram #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabric #morris #kitchenaccessories #ovengloves #ovenglove #strawberrythief #inspiredbynature #inspiredbynature_ #florals #myfloralhome #floralhome #kitchenaccessory #preraphaelite #mykitchenmyhappyplace #mykitchenstyle #floralmagic