William Morris's last enterprise was the Kelmscott Press, fine printing of books by Caxton and his contemporaries and by Morris and his favourite authors - almost all texts that WM loved for their own sakes. Over 50 titles in five years made it not a hobby but a business which, guided by quality not cost, aimed to make at least enough profit to continue in production. I've been reading up on his book-making life for a forthcoming lecture and have concluded that the Kelmscott Press was a serious enterprise rather than a vanity project and that its secondary aim - alongside the making of books that were beautiful as well as useful - was success in a small, craft-based business such as, or as potentially close to, that run by Caxton; and that WM's pleasure lay in planning and managing such production, and proving that there was a market for high-quality, hand-finished items such as his books.
The first lecture is at the University of Bristol, 6.00pm Tuesday 20 November 2012, Great Hall, Wills Memorial Building. Free but booking needed