Wednesday, April 21, 2021

508. Emery Walker's Collection & Ricketts & Shannon

William S. Peterson recently published a compilation of articles about William Morris and personalities from his immediate circle, Morris & Company (Oak Knoll Press, 2020). Because of the lockdown, I only got the book last week. It contains articles previously published elsewhere, although it also includes some speeches and presentations not previously published in print. 

An article that appeared earlier in Matrix quotes Sydney Cockerell's diary, in which a visit to Ricketts and Shannon is noted for 7 December 1897. (Due to an unfortunate late decision to swap two articles in the book, neither the title page nor the index are correct; at least, for these two articles: the quote about Ricketts and Shannon is on page 100-101 and not on page 108-109). Anyway, although Cockerell later corresponded intensively with Ricketts, and we can infer that he had known Ricketts for some time, he especially mentioned that he liked Shannon.

On 9 December 1897 he made a few calls at a publisher, a type foundry, and a manufacturer of printing presses:

Then with Walker to 8 Hammersmith Terrace where I met Shannon & Ricketts. Like Shannon, whom I had not met before, very much.

Emery Walker (1851-1933), the technical genius behind both the Kelmscott Press and the Doves Press, together with Walter Boutall managed a company for process engraving, who reproduced some of the illustrations in Ricketts's and Shannon's magazine The Dial. Walker's collection included all the works of the Kelmscott Press and the Doves Press and all kinds of documents about both private presses, but it was broader and stayed in the family for a long time. In the 1990s it was sold to what is now The Wilson, formerly the Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum. (See the catalogue for descriptions and images, in many cases including transcriptions of letters).

Website The Wilson, Cheltenham
The collection includes issues three and four of The Dial, as well as an announcement about ordering specially designed bookbindings, and a prospectus. The collection may be richer but it has not yet been catalogued as a whole - and, due to the lockdown, it is now unclear whether any other works by Ricketts and Shannon have been preserved in the collection.

One special copy has however been catalogued: Ricketts's A Defence of the Revival of Printing, published in June 1899, with a personal dedication to Walker:

to E Walker | from C. Ricketts | 17 July 1899.

Another presentation copy was given to Sydney Cockerell.