Private Press IV: Essex House Press

essex house press - 015656

The Essex House Press was established by influential English designer C. R. Ashbee and was named after the London workshops of his Guild of Handicraft at Essex House on the Mile End Road in the East End of London. Ashbee bought the Kelmscott Press’ Albion printing presses after William Morris’s death, and employed one of the Kelmscott compositors Thomas Binning. The Essex House Press moved with the Guild to Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds in 1902. It closed in 1907.

We hold 2 volumes from the Press: a 1901 edition of Edmund Spenser’s Epithalamion with woodcuts by Reginald Savage, and an 1898 edition of the Treatises of Cellini. The former is limited to 150, is printed on vellum, and features full-colour illuminated and historiated initials. The latter is limited to 600 copies. An inscription notes “Made into English from the Italian of the Marcian codex by C. R. Ashbee, and printed by him at the Guild’s Press at Essex House, with the assistance of Laurence Hodson who sought to keep living the traditions of good printing refounded by William Morris, the master craftsman, and likewise of T. Binning & J. Tippett, compositors, and S. Mowlem, pressman, who came to Essex House from the Kelmscott Press to that end. Begun April, 1898; finished October, 1898.”

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