Record of Bibliography and Library Literature

1898 Library  
THE main contents of this pleasant book are thirty-five reproductions of German woodcuts of the fifteenth century, of which twenty-nine had been prepared as illustrations for the Catalogue of the Library of William Morns, which was to have been printed at the Kelmscott Press, but which his too early death caused to be abandoned. On its bibliographical side this Catalogue was to have been the work of Mr. Sidney Cockerell, Mr. Morris contributing to it notes on the artistic interest of his
more » ... erest of his illustrated books. These notes are here represented by quotations from an article on the Early Woodcut Books of Ulm and Augsburg, which Mr. Morris was fortunately induced to write for Bibliograpkica, and six of the illustrations to this article have been added to the twenty-nine prepared for the Catalogue. Mr. Cockerell's work is also represented by notes as to the numbers of the separate cuts and the times each of them was used in the more important illustrated books which Mr. Morris possessed at the time of his death. Mr. Cockerell was tempted, he tells us, to add a list of the manuscripts, 112 in number and nearly all of them illuminated, which formed the most notable part of his friend's library, and we regret that he has not done so. The reason he gives for his abstention is that " without a full description of each volume such a list would be meaningless, and anything more than a list would be out of place." The second of these two clauses is no doubt true, and the first would be true also, had the books belonged to almost any other man than Morris. But his manuscripts were brought together with an unerring judgment which gave them a unique value as a collection. They are gone, with the rest of his library, only some half-dozen people know whither. Their present owner, unless we are mistaken, is still collecting, and when they reappear from their present tomb, perhaps a generation hence, they may be mixed with other manuscripts, and we are sorry, therefore, that an opportunity has been lost of printing even the briefest possible record of the names, dates, and origin of the written books which William Morris brought together as the finest specimens he could procure of mediaeval art Another opportunity will come when Mr. Mackail publishes his biography of Morris, and we sincerely hope that Mr. Cockerell will then print the list which he has here omitted, as a witness to the poet's skill and taste as a collector. Turning to what is here given us, we find Morris writing in Bibliograpkica that the 'two main merits" of these fifteenth century woodcuts " are first their decorative and next their story-telling quality," the qualities, as it seemed to him, which "include what is necessary and essential in book-pictures." The decorative quality is attested by almost every cut here reproduced, many of them being rightly accompanied by a few at
doi:10.1093/library/s1-x.1.76 fatcat:zmenj23eojhapkq45modq3nzem