It came to auction from a descendant of Sir Emery Walker (1851-1933), the typographer, printer and founder of the Doves Press who, like Morris, was a major figure in the British Arts & Crafts movement.
Estimated at £500-1000 at the auction on July 19, it drew bidding in the room, on the phone and online. Duke’s managing director Lee Young said interest came “across the board and internationally”, both from Morris enthusiasts as well as more general book collectors.
It was eventually knocked down to a London buyer at £2200.
Walker and Morris were neighbours in Hammersmith, west London, and met up regularly. Walker’s family house at 7 Hammersmith Terrace was maintained by his daughter Dorothy as a shine to the Arts & Crafts movement after he died in 1933 and has been left unaltered ever since.
It is now run by a charitable trust and plenty of items in its collection relate to Morris including the cabinets, wallpaper and even his spectacles.
The objects at Duke’s had an attached label in Dorothy Walker's hand reading William Morris’ pen.
Also included in the lot were letters from Emery and Dorothy Walker as well as a drawing of the latter and a lithograph of the former (the original Emery Walker portrait is still on display in the drawing room at 7 Hammersmith Terrace).
The pen itself was made by Charles Roberson and Company, the London supplier of artists' materials where Morris was a regular customer.
The buyer’s premium at Duke’s is 25%.