The Artist and the Capitalist

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The Artist & the Capitalist: William Morris & Richard Marsden

by Florence Boos

including a reproduction of a William Morris letter written to Richard Marsden, Manchester, England industrialist.

Florence Boos, Professor of English at the University of Iowa, has published critical studies of the poetry of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Morris. Among other works, she has edited Morris’ Socialist Diary and Earthly Paradise, and is the general editor of the Morris On-Line Edition. She serves as vice-president of the William Morris Society in the United States.The Foreword is written by Jack Walsdorf, Morris aficionodo and collector for over 40 years. He describes how his part in the story “begins with an offer ignored” but resulted, fortunately, in his purchase of a quite remarkable William Morris letter which is a statement of Morris’ artistic and political vision.

Cover and title pageThe Book

This book presents Florence Boos’ research into the background of an important, previously unpublished, seven-page William Morris letter. The focus of the book, and the letter, is one of Morris’ most acclaimed lectures, “Art Under Plutocracy” which was a powerful secular sermon about art and its social environment. The lecture bluntly evoked the specter of social unrest, demanded commitment to a radical cause, and framed that cause in a critique of aesthetic hypocrisy and social injustice. Richard Marsden, a Manchester, England industrialist reviewed the lecture in a very unfavorable light in The Textile Manufacturer. The letter is Morris’ response to Marsden’s review of the lecture.

The Artist & the Capitalist is set in Jenson and Italian Old Style types. It was printed on a handpress in four flat colors on Somerset Book, a mould made sheet from St. Cuthberts Mill in England.

The edition is quarter bound in leather with Morris-inspired paper sides. The production was limited to 110 copies, of which 100 numbered copies will be offered for sale.

This is a companion volume to On Collecting William Morris: A Memoir, authored by Jack Walsdorf and published in 2006.

the letterThe Letter

The book includes a reproduction of an important unpublished William Morris letter that is a statement of Morris’ artistic and political vision. The signed letter is written to Richard Marsden, industrialist of Manchester, England. In it, Morris takes issue with Marsden’s review of one of Morris’ most acclaimed lectures, “Art Under Plutocracy.” Morris’ letter is reproduced on Arches Text Laid.



Morris with signatureMarsdenMorris and Marsden cartes de visite

Included as tip-ins are photographs of William Morris and Richard Marsden. The Morris photo is by Frederick Hollyer, printed and published by Walker & Boutall. The Marsden photograph is from his obituary published in The Textile Mercury.



The Artist & the Capitalist is currently available from The Printery for $350.00 plus $5.00 for domestic shipping and $15.00 for international shipping. We will ship your order as soon as possible. If you are interested in purchasing a copy or have any questions, please feel free to contact us.