(Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press, 1896). Folded sheet measuring 16 3/4 by 11 1/2 inches, comprising pp. 1-2, and 15-16 of the Kelmscott Chaucer. This bifolium contains the magnificent opening of the Canterbury Tales with the woodcut by Edward Burne-Jones showing Chaucer holding a book and a pen while standing in a garden, the plants within that garden having been drawn by William Morris. The key significance of this sheet lies in the difference in the arrangement of the text: the first column contains seven lines, which was changed to six when the line "The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne" was shifted to the second column in the published version. As we have previously handled a proof sheet for the opening page in which the first column contained five lines, the variations point to Morris's obsessive, exacting nature. The reason for this line shift was likely related to the fact that the initial word "Whan" was engraved by W.H. Hooper with the border and the heading on a single block, and the shift up was done after this text was proofed with the block, exposing what was likely a spacing issue. In this case, seven lines brought the first line quite close to the bottom of the initial border. Another interesting feature of this proof is that it is not on proofing paper; rather, it is on the heavier Chaucer paper, on which Morris personally preferred to check proofs. Light foxing, small nick to page just above the opening. Item #29152
(See Peterson A40, Related Materials, [qq]).