Digital Collections

Kelmscott Chaucer

The Triple Crown at Bridwell Library

The works of Geoffrey Chaucer, now newly imprinted., 1896

Kelmscott Chaucer

The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer,
Kelmscott Press, 1896.

Doves Press Bible, vol. 1

The English Bible,
Doves Press, 1903-1905

Tutte le opere di Dante

Tutte le opere di Dante Alighieri,
Ashendene Press, 1909

How Galahad was Broughte to the Knyghts of the Rounde Table...

How Galahad was Broughte
to the Knyghts...

Nel Mezzo red inital

[Nel Mezzo in ink on vellum
with pencil measurements]

Holding library: Bridwell Library

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“Kelmscott, Doves, Ashendene – this being now a shrine for all the world…”

Bridwell Library’s Triple Crown acquisitions began in Fall 1974, when Bridwell’s director Decherd Turner ventured to bookseller Colin Franklin’s home in Oxford to view a copy of the Kelmscott Chaucer printed on vellum. This copy, which is signed by William Morris to the book’s illustrator, Edward Burnes Jones, was purchased by the Bridwell Library and delivered by Colin Franklin on November 17, 1974. Franklin later played a role in Bridwell’s acquisition of the Ashendene Press, which included all copies of the press’s publications on both paper and vellum, including the works of Dante. Finally, he facilitated the purchase of Emery Walker’s vellum copy of the Doves Press Bible, one of only two copies ever made.

In a 1977 address at Bridwell Library to mark the occasion of the acquisition of the Doves Press Bible, Franklin referred to Bridwell’s collection as the “Triple Crown” of printing, remarking that “henceforth in any serious discussion of private presses Bridwell becomes the focal point of reference…I want to apply to Bridwell’s triple crown the proudest boast in literary history, those last two lines of Shakespeare’s eighteenth sonnet: 

                ‘So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

                So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.’”

Collection Materials

In addition to the Doves Press Bible, the Kelmscott Chaucer, and the Ashendene Dante, Bridwell holds many works produced by all three presses, as well as the Ashendene Press archives, which include correspondence, design notes for typefaces and illustrations, subscription lists, ledgers, and more.

Holdings and highlights:

Please cite Bridwell Library Special Collections, SMU, as the source of this collection. A high-resolution version of items in this collection may be obtained by contacting Bridwell Library Special Collections (

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