MORRIS, William. Pre-Raphaelite Ballads. New York: A. Wessels, 1900.
FIRST and LIMITED EDITION, 174/500. (200 x 150 mm), pp. [vii] 22 [iv]. Printed by Clark Conwell at the Elston press with red initials & illustrated with 4 black & white full-page illustrations; 1 red illustration; and full borders with various stylised patters on each page, all by H.M. [Helen Marguerite] O'Kane, baring her signature encircled K (OK) for O Kane. Good. Splotching on cover and loose joint on front cover, spine intact; inside is very clean, with uncut leaves. #174 of a limited run of 500 on Old Stratford paper.
A sweet example of Art Nouveau's debt to Medieval art. Operating from only 1900-1904, and seen as the heirs of the Kelmscott Press legacy, Clark Conwell and H.M. O Kane, the husband-and-wife/ owner-and-illustrator team, produced a mere handfull fine, private press editions, the first of which was William Morris Pre-Raphaelite Ballads. Coupling the pre-Modern-style poem by William Morris textile designer, inspiration for the Arts and Crafts movement, and man of medievalism with the woodblock-esque illustrations by H.M. O Kane, the production is akin to holding a medieval manuscript reflected through an Art Nouveau looking glass. It s an elegant, archaic work which incorporates the rubrication (the use of red letters to draw the attention) One of only two of O Kane s illustrations of Morris work (the other being Five Arthurian Poems, two years later).
Johnson #1 Notes on the Elston Press, by Herbert H. Johnson, Published by Douglas M. Harris, Wilmington, Delaware, 1997.
Notes on the Elston Press, by Herbert H. Johnson, Published by Douglas M. Harris, Wilmington, Delaware, 1997.