The Essex House Press

Essex House Press was founded by C R Ashbee in 1898 after the Kelmscott Press closed, using 2 of their printing presses. The printing was just one output from the Guild of Handicrafts and a team approach was taken to production, both of these things stand out. Operated in the Mile End Road and then, from 1902, in Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds.

Essex1  Essex3  Essex2

Laurence Housman studied art at the Lambeth School of Art and the Royal College of Art. A talented illustrator, his work was exhibited at the Baillie Gallery, the Fine Art Society, and the New English Art Club.  His best known work includes Goblin Market (1893) and The Sensitive Plant (1898). He also published two volumes of poetry, Green Arras (1896) and Spikenard (1898). In 1900 he created great controversy when he published An Englishwoman’s Love Letters. It was very successful and it is claimed he received over £2,000 in royalties. During this period he also worked as an art critic for the Manchester Guardian.

A committed socialist and pacifist, heavily involved in women’s suffrage movement.  After his eyesight began to fail he turned to writing books and plays.

He was a strong supporter of the Peace Pledge Union. In 1945 the organization opened Housmans Bookshop in Shaftesbury Avenue, London, and it became a major source of literature on pacifism.

Laurence Housman died on 20th February 1959 in Butleigh Hospital in Glastonbury, Somerset.

Title: Mendicant Rhymes, 1906
Book Description: Blue boards, white vellum spine. Some offsetting to pastedowns.

1 of 300 copies, little decoration, just a little leaf here and there.


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