Skip to product information
1 of 12

1904 The Defence of Guenevere & Other Poems by William Morris / First Edition / Beautiful Antique Book Richly Illustrated by Jessie M King

1904 The Defence of Guenevere & Other Poems by William Morris / First Edition / Beautiful Antique Book Richly Illustrated by Jessie M King

Regular price $536.00 CAD
Regular price Sale price $536.00 CAD
Sale Sold out
Tax included. Shipping calculated at checkout.
I'm not exaggerating when I say this is my favourite of all the books I have had in my shop over the many years. Along with the Peacock Pride and Prejudice I consider this the most beautiful but also an important book. The Defence of Guenevere & Other Poems by William Morris. Being a first in this edition published by John Lane, The Bodley Head London in 1904. A romantic collection of thirty works including King Arthur's Tomb, Rapunzel, and Old Love. Wonderfully and mystically illustrated and decorated throughout by Jessie M King.

The Defence of Guenevere was originally written in 1858. It was Morris’ first book and one of his best-known works. It is said to be the first book of Pre-Raphaelite poetry to be published. Jessie M. King was one of the most important Scottish illustrators of the 20th century from the Glasgow School of Art. This is considered her finest work.

Inside the pages are in good condition. Clean and tightly bound. There is an inked inscription on the front free endpaper dated 31st July 1905 but no other writing or markings of previous ownership. Has mildly tanned endpapers. With spotting to the endpapers and title page and just light scattered spotting through the text. The top edge is gilt, the other two edges are untrimmed and they have tanned where they protrude. Cracks open at the gutter at the beginning but in no way effecting the binding of the text block which is good and strong.

With black and white illustrated plates, head and tail chapter decorations and section illustrations. These are exquisite with influences of medievalism, Aubrey Beardsley, Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau. They have a dream-like quality. The lettering is inspired by that found on seventeenth century tombstones. There are intricate details which include Glasgow cabbage roses, stars, swallows, leaves, petals etc.

In a dark red cloth binding with gilt decoration to the front, back and spine. The figure on the front is of Guenevere, arms outstretched surrounded by a halo of tiny gilt stars and other Art Nouveau motfis such as the cabbage roses. The decoration on the front and back has remained bright, the gilt having rubbed on the front just very slightly in places. There is some slight fading to the red cloth across the top of the front and back boards and a little rubbing to the cloth at the corners. With a very faint light stain mark near the top of the front board next to the spine.

The red and gilt on the spine has faded a bit in comparison to the boards, with a couple of small dark marks. Has some rubbing to the cloth at the head and tail of the spine and along the hinges with three small nicks in the cloth along the rear hinge. This is to the surface cloth only and the binding remains very tight and strong.

Your antique copy of The Defence of Guenevere will be wrapped with care in tissue and ribbon* and sent well packaged. I am always happy to add a gift card with a message.

H 20 cm x W 14 cm, 310 pages, 0.56 kg. I dispatch worldwide daily from the UK. With the exception of a small number of countries.

* If you would prefer for your book not to be decoratively wrapped and sent simply in the full protective packaging please add a note to the order.

I post regular new stock and updates on Instagram @bumperboxofdelights
View full details