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William Morris

by Frederick Hollyer, printed and published by Walker & Boutall
photogravure, 1884
4 3/4 in. x 3 3/4 in. (120 mm x 95 mm)
acquired unknown source, 1954
NPG x3759

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Claudio Furet

10 August 2018, 10:46

I have a copy of this same print.

The only differences being a) that mine does not have 'aet 52.' written below Morris's signature, and b) that the actual signatures are not identical on both pictures.
It would appear that Morris had these small photographs made for him to individually sign and give to his friends. However, yours and mine are the only two still in existence that I'm aware of, though I'm sure there must be others.

I believe that 'aet 52.' stands for 'aetatis 52' or 'at the age of 52'. (though, typically, the abbreviation aet is written 'aet.')
Therefore, if this is indeed what aet 52. refers to, this picture cannot have been printed in 1884 as your description states, since William Morris was born in 1834, making him only 50 in 1884.

I hope this is of help.
Many thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts. Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.

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