MORRIS, William. ~ Gossip About an Old House on the Upper Thames.
No.37 of 50 copies. Wood engraving of Kelmscott Manor by C.M. Gere as the frontispiece (originally used in the Kelmscott Press News from Nowhere) and two other wood engravings by Edmund New, woodcut initials. Pp. ii, 14. 4to., original blue boards iwth title printed in black on the upper cover, in plain paper dust jacket with manuscript title date and edition number on the upper cover. A very good copy with the booklabel of Freeman Bass, the co-founder of the Morris Society. Some browning to free endpapers which seems to verify that the plain jacket was present when the book was issued.
Deemed to be a form of piracy by Buxton Forman, the forger, it is conjectured that this book was directly extracted from the 50 copies of The Quest No. IV where the text was published first and dressed up in a new binding with an added colophon which read “Printed at the press of the Birmingham Guild of Handicraft Limited, published in “The Quest” for November MDCCCXCV, and fifty copie sdone in this separate form.” It is pretty obvious when one looks at the difference between the text and printing and typography of the half title and colophon. In his Morris bibliography Buxton Forman justifies the book referring to it as a ‘choice littel book, of the same typography as the magazine’.
On the plus side we now know that we are getting the first printing of Morris’s words rather than an offprint in the second printing.