Another beautiful book found in the UST Library’s Rare Books collection is authorized American edition of The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments, & other rites & ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Church of England published by M. Walter Dunne in 1904. This edition is a replica of the English edition of this title published in 1903 by the Essex House Press.
The Essex House Press was founded by C R Ashbee (who also ran the Guild of Handicraft). After William Morris’s death, Ashbee bought the Kelmscott Press’s Albion printing presses and employed one of the Kelmscott’s compositors to work for him. This private press captured the sentiment of the Arts and Crafts movement that ‘art was for the people’ and that it was created ‘by the people’ to beautify their own lives.
The masterpiece of the Essex House Press was the Book of Common Prayer which was produced to celebrate the coming to the throne of King Edward VII. Ashbee designed the type used within the volume and drew the illustrations used throughout the work. The wood block illustrations were cut by the artists Clemence Housman and W. H. Hooper.
For more information on the UST Libraries rare books and manuscripts collections see our website.