William Morris and the
Oxford University Press

This pane depicts the marks of both William Morris and the Oxford University Press. William Morris was a nineteenth century English master printer. Morris was an admirer of the calligraphy of the Middle Ages and of the earlier printing that took its place. With this in mind, Morris established the Kelmscott Press with a desire to produce books that would be a pleasure to look upon as pieces of printing and arrangements of type. “Kelmscott” was chosen as the name of his press in reference to the Kelmscott Manor on the Upper Thames. Morris’ mark is a simple double leaf design with Kelmscott running through the center space.


The Oxford University Press has a rich history which can be traced back to the earliest days of printing. The first book was printed in Oxford in 1478, just two years after Caxton set up the first printing press in England. The University was involved with several printers in Oxford over the next century, although there was no formal University press established until 1586. Early books of the press were mostly standard works in theology and the classics. During the end of the seventeenth century, the press flourished under John Fell, Dean of Christ Church, London. Fell supplied the press with money, established a type of foundry and set up a paper mill. The device of the press has passed through several forms, but the mark depicted on Bonawit’s window embodies the coat of arms of Oxford University.


The stained glass panel highlighted here once hung in the windows of Kent Library when it was originally installed in 1939. In 1968, the panes were placed into walnut frames and displayed on the mezzanine level of the renovated library until 2007 when they were removed for safety during library remodeling.



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