KELMSCOTT PRESS. SWINBURNE, Algernon C. ~ Atalanta in Calydon: A Tragedy.
One of 250 copies printed on paper, (a further 8 copies were printed on vellum). Elaborate woodcut title page with border, border, three-quarter and corner borders, marginal ornaments and 85 three-, six-, eight- and eleven -line initials, all by William Morris, engraved on wood by W.H. Hooper et al, the initial letters then being electroplated, woodcut press device on colophon. Printed in red and black in Troy tupe with argument and dramatis personae in Chaucer type and with Greek type designed by Selwyn Image, with the help of Emery Walker on hand-made Batchelor Perch paper. Large 4to., original limp vellum, brown silk ties, yapp edges, title in gilt in Golden type on the spine. An extremely bright, clean and crisp copy, lower cover slightly bowed.
Selwyn Image's rather beautiful Greek type was based on a tenth century ms. and an early Spanish printed book in the British Museum. It was the only time Morris used type designed by another.
Atalanta in Calydon was first published in 1865 and was Swinburne's first great literary success. In it he recreated in English the form and spirit of Greek tragedy telling the story of Meleager of Calydon whose mother dreamed before his birth that he should live no longer than when the brand then in the fire were consumed so she took it from the fire and kept it. He was a great warrior sailing with Jason after the golden fleece and winning 'the great praise of all men living'. Eventually to gain the love of the beautiful virgin Atalanta he slew a terrifying wild boar sent by Artemis to Calydon to punish the King for not honouring her.
He gave the spoils of the boar to Atalanta but his uncles were furious and set upon him, so Meleager slew them. His mother was so outraged by the murder of her brothers she put the brand upon the fire and as it wasted away, so did Meleager. As Swinburne put it in his 'argument': "and this was his end, and the end of that hunting".
Booklabel of the astronomer Henry Crozier Keating Plummer (1875-1946).