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A Christmas Mystery


“Enter Two Angels in white, with scarlet wings;
aso, Four Ladies in gowns of red and green; also
an Angel, bearing in his hands a surcoat of white,
with a red cross.”

William Morris (1834-1896)
New Rochelle, NY: The Elston Press, 1902

Originally published in 1859, this was William Morris’s first published poem in book form. The poem, about the reaffirmation of a doubted faith, was illustrated by Helen Marguerite O’Kane (1879-1927) and printed in black and red by her husband, Clarke Conwell. Decorated borders and two full-page pictures illustrate the text. The typesetting of this book is somewhat controversial. Early critics called it ostentatious. Later, others argued that the page size carries the bold, striking type well. Printed on handmade paper. This copy is bound in full green crushed morocco. The spine is gilt with raised bands decorated with gilt borders with floral designs. Leather inlays are on the front and back covers. Gilt also borders the inside covers over marbled endpapers. Edition of one hundred and eighty copies.

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View the original article on the OpenBook Blog

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