The Leighton ledgers

Some years ago, while searching for information about the Kelmscott Chaucer, we went through the ledgers of John and James Leighton Ltd. (London bookbinders and booksellers) to record copies of the book that had been bound by that firm. There are nine volumes of the ledgers in the British Library (Add. MSS. 45161–45169), covering the years 1897–1918. We examined the first six volumes (45161–45166, though we found nothing in 45164) but decided not to slog through the remaining three volumes because Leighton was doing far less work on Kelmscott Press books during those years.

While looking over our notes recently, we decided that it might be useful if we were to publish this information here. We have tidied up the notes just slightly, but for the most part this is simply the raw information as we recorded it, with no later alterations. It will be seen that the ledgers contain information about both copies of the Chaucer that were later listed in our Census and copies that are still not identified or located.


Add. MS. 45161 (ledger, 1897–98)

(fol. 4) 5 March 1897 — miscellaneous — Rimell & Co., 91 Oxford Street — Kelmscott Chaucer — £27/10 — Paid 3.4.97

(fol. 43) August 1898 — W. S. Blunt, Esq., Newbuildings Place, Southwater — Works of Geoffrey Chaucer (Kelmscott) —l. fol. vellum limp, silk strings, rough gilt edge — £1/15/-
(fol. 67) 20 January 1897 — S. C. Cockerell, Esq., 17 Rosemont Rd., Richmond — Chaucer. Kelmscott — fol. —1/2 holland — £11/6.

(fol. 75) 22 January 1898 — Mr. C. H. Cattle, 2 East Circus St., Nottingham — Kelmscott Chaucer — £28/-/-. Paid 25th January 1898.

(fol. 89) 5 June 1897 — F. S. Ellis, Esq., The Red House, Cockington, Torquay — Cuts from Chaucer mounted on paper with a frame of paper & piece cut out for verses — binding in half pigskin oak boards g[ilt] [illegible word] blind tooled to order — £4/-4/-.

(fol. 123) 3 March 1897 — A. Higgins, Esq., 16 King St., Portman S.q. — Kelmscott Chaucer — 1/2 pigskin oak boards — £4/-/-.

(fol. 123) May 1897 — A. Higgins — Case for Chaucer lined swansdown double [illegible word] hollow steel stops [?] covered washed leather — £1/11.

(fol. 140) 4 May 1897 — Kelmscott Press, Upper Mall, Hammersmith — Chaucer sent to Scheltema & Holkema, Amsterdam — £5/-.

(fol. 140) 21 May 1897 — Kelmscott Press — Kelmscott Chaucer on Vellum waste sheets made up in 2 vols half holland, some slight cleaning up & repairs — £1/12/-, £1/-/-.

(fol. 159) 29 November 1897 — C. Fairfax Murray, Esq. — Kelmscott Chaucer on vellum whole green Mor[occo] oak boards [illegible words] back & sides — £6/-/-.

(fol. 167) 27 Apr. 1897 — Messrs. Morris & Co., 449 Oxford St. — Kelmscott Chaucer — £30/-/-.

(fol. 219) 19 February 1897 — Robert Steele Esq., Chemical Society’s Library, Burlington House — Kelmscott Chaucer — 1/2 holland — £13/6 —paid 5.8.97.

(fol. 220) 26 March 1897 — Scheltema & Holkema, 74 Rokin Hoek Wijde Kapelsteeg, Amsterdam — Chaucer Kelmscott — £28/-/- — Paid 4 May 1897.

(fol. 260) 28 November 1898 — E. R. B. Hall Watt, Esq., Bishop Burton, Beverley — Kelmscott Chaucer — £40/-/- — Paid 5.XII.98.

Add. MS. 45162 (ledger 1899–1900)

(fol. 31) 26 September 1899 — Bickers & Son, 1 Leicester Square, London — Kelmscott Chaucer — £56/-/-.

(fol. 32) 29 May 1899 — James Bain, 1 Haymarket, SW — Kelmscott Chaucer — £59/-/-. Paid 8.6.99.

(fol. 46) February 1900 — J. & E. Bumpus, 350 Oxford St., W. — Kelmscott Chaucer — £64/-/-. Paid 3.3.00.

(fol. 49) 11 February 1899 — C. Belcher, Esq., 26 Oaklands Grove, Uxbridge Rd., W. — £44/-/-. Paid 14.1.99.

(fol. 130) 1 June 1899 — Sydney Humphreys, Esq., 3 Whitehall Court, S.W. — Kelmscott Chaucer in qrs untrimmed — £65/-/-.

(fol. 167) 16 May 1899 — Morris & Co., 449 Oxford St., W. — Kelmscott Chaucer — £57/10/-.

(fol. 167) 26 March 1900 — Morris & Co. — Kelmscott Chaucer leaf — vellum folio — 1/2 holland — 12/6.

(fol. 167) 7 August 1899 — Mrs. Morris, Kelmscott Manor, Lechlade — 1 Chaucer, folded, mended & bound 1/2 holland — 18/-.

(fol. 167) 8 September 1899 — Mrs. Morris — 1 Chaucer, folded, mended & bound 1/2 holland — 18/-.

(fol. 228) 23 March 1899 — Robert Steele, Esq., Chemical Society’s Library, Burlington House — Kelmscott Chaucer rebound (not to be charged).

(fol. 243) 13 Nov. 1899 — J. & M. L. Tregaskis, 232 High Holborn, W.C. — Kelmscott Chaucer & Sigurd — cash £77/-/-. Paid cash 14.9.99.

Add. MS. 45163 (ledger 1901–02)

(fol. 59/81) 27 March 1901 — S. C. Cockerell, Esq., 16 Clifford’s Inn — Kelmscott Chaucer — Auto. presentation copy — £86/-/-.

(fol. 70/93) 9 April 1902 — Cornish Bros., 37 New St., Birmingham — Kelmscott Chaucer — £140/-/-. Paid 26.5.02.

(fol. 87/112) 23 August 1902 — Denham — Chaucer 6 vols. Used by W. Morris for Kelmscott ed. — £10/-/-. [This is The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, ed. W. W. Skeat (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1894), used as the copytext for the Kelmscott Chaucer. Morris’s marked-up copy is now in the Beinecke Library.]

(fol. 96/120) 10 January 1902 — Frederick Evans, Esq., Takeleys, Epping Uplands, Epping — Kelmscott Press. 58 vols. 1/2 holland (6 fol; 17 4to; 35 8vo. — £4/7/0. Box and packing of above, 1/9. Paid 28 July 1902.

(fol. 132/150) 6 March 1902 — Frank Hollings, 7 Gt. Turnstile, W.C. — Kelmscott Chaucer folio 1/2 holland, paper label lettered in black, paper added — £15/-/-. Paid 7.4.02.

(fol. 132/150) 13 June 1902 — Frank Hollings — Chaucer leaves — 1/2 holl. paper added, lettered as before — £15/-/-. Paid 7 Aug. 1902.

Add. MS. 5165 (ledger 1905-06)

(fol. 94/87) 24 February 1905 — Francis Edwards, 83 High St., Marylebone — Kelmscott Chaucer, case made and lettered, lined swansdown — 17/6.

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