The Catterson-Smith copy

We have always assumed that Robert Catterson-Smith, the young Birmingham artist who revised Burne-Jones’s drawings for the Kelmscott Chaucer, must have received a complimentary copy of the book from Morris, but so far we have been unable to locate it. Now, however, John Aplin (through Peter Collister) has sent us information confirming that such a copy did in fact exist.

Here are the references, two letters written by Catterson-Smith to Sydney Cockerell (British Library, Add. Ms. 52709):

11 February 1936 (fol. 167): “I am concerned as to the present value of my Chaucer, you may remember that W.M. presented me with a copy, and inscribed it with his Name—beautifully written; it is still in its paper cover. I want to know its present value for the purpose of insurance. I have to have it insured; but as I have changed my insurance company I want to give them a valuation; it appears to me that you would be [sic] tell me its present valuation if you know it.”

13 February 1936 (fol. 168): “Thanks very much for your prompt reply. I shall act upon it with the Insurance Company, valuing it at £150.”

If anyone knows the whereabouts of this copy, we would be pleased to hear from you.

[Update, 24 November 2015] The Catterson-Smith copy has at last come into public view: see this post.


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