Exhibition and dinner at the Grolier Club honor the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection’s recent acquisition of William Morris’s 1896 masterpiece The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer Newly Imprinted
March 24, 2016 was the 182nd anniversary of the birth of William Morris, the great late-Victorian poet, artist, arts-and-crafts designer, and dedicated socialist who reshaped decorative arts and bookmaking in Britain and America. The Mark Samuels Lasner Collection, on loan to the University of Delaware Library, partnered with the Grolier Club in New York City to celebrate the occasion with a special exhibition of a recently acquired copy of William Morris’s 1896 The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer Now Newly Printed. Commonly called the Kelmscott Chaucer, the book is one of the most famous examples of fine printing and is highly sought after by collectors today. The copy recently acquired by the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection is one of only fourteen copies inscribed by William Morris, in this case to Robert Catterson-Smith, who worked with Morris and Edward Burne-Jones on the book’s illustrations.
The exhibition also featured other materials drawn from the Grolier Club’s own collection, including other books produced by Morris’s renowned Kelmscott Press and assorted manuscripts, books from Morris’s library, and other related rare editions. Around forty people attended the event. After viewing the exhibition, they enjoyed drinks, dinner, and remarks by Mark Samuels Lasner describing the acquisition of the Chaucer. See images from the evening below.