As I was happily working away on some of our Kelmscott Press books, I discovered this wonderfully detailed bookplate in a copy of William Morris’s Theroots of the mountains. Although we have yet to learn the identity of Robert Hall, the plate certainly suggests that he was an enthusiastic collector of Kelmscott publications.
On the library table are copies of several well-known Kelmscott works, including William Morris’s The glittering plain and his 1895 translation of Beowulf. All the books are clearly bound in the distinctive Kelmscott full limp vellum tied with silk ribbons; The wood beyond the world is open to show a Morris-designed woodcut border and frontispiece.
Leaning against the bookcase is a copy of the 1896 edition of Chaucer, the most important publication from the Kelmscott Press and arguably the greatest of all the private press books. If this delightful bookplate provides us with an accurate glimpse into Robert Hall’s private library, then he was indeed a true collector of Kelmscott.