Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Defence of Guenevere

It recently came to our attention that this week is the anniversary of the birthdays of both William Morris (March 24) and Jessie M. King (March 20), the artistic minds behind the lovely John Lane edition of The Defence of Guenevere, published in 1904. The text was written by Morris and first published in 1858, with later editions appearing, including a revised edition published in 1892 by Morris' Kelmscott Press.

The 1904 John Lane edition features twenty-four full-page illustrations and numerous decorations finely drawn by King. The binding, in gilt-decorated dark red cloth, was also designed by King and shows a pictorial gilt-stamped design of a resplendent Guenevere. The black and white illustrations and cover are in the "Glasgow Style," Scotland's Art Nouveau movement, characterized by the influences of Celtic imagery, Japanese prints, and the work of William Morris himself.

For more on King and her exquisite illustrations, see the excellent University of St. Andrews Special Collections blog post on The Defence of Guenevere, and please join us in celebrating these two important artists on the anniversary of their birth.

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