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Ref No IE TCD MS 11574
Title The Cuala Press Print Collection
Creation Dates [1906-1968]
Extent And Medium 1 Box 112 Items
Level Of Description Collection
Admin Biographical History The Cuala Press was founded in Churchtown, Co. Dublin by the Yeats sisters, Elizabeth and Susan, in 1908. The Cuala Press began its life as the Dun Emer Press and was part of Dun Emer Industries, established by Evelyn Gleeson (1855-1944) and Susan and Elizabeth Yeats in Dundrum, Co. Dublin, in 1902. Their aim was to employ and train local Irish girls and young women in 'the making of beautiful things'. Elizabeth Corbet Yeats (1868-1940) trained two people at a time on a printing press, and they gained knowledge of composition, typography, type setting, and ink rolling; they were also involved in the hand painting of the prints and the other material. Susan Yeats (1866-1949) ran the embroidery section and taught embroidery herself.

These photoengraved prints were amassed as a collection in the mid-20th century and donated to the Library in 2017 by Vin Ryan. They were made using the Albion hand press and were then hand painted by the employees of the Press; they had been commissioned in 1906 while Elizabeth and Susan Yeats were still at Dun Emer. In 1908, when they established the Cuala Press in Churchtown they continued to produce books but increased their production of other printed material especially hand coloured prints and greeting cards.. These products were extremely important for the Press as they were consistently profitable and easy to reproduce using the same blocks. In a letter from Elizabeth Corbett Yeats to Mr Albert Ehrman dated 15 May 1931, Yeats states that without the hand coloured prints, greeting cards and Christmas cards she "could not make the press pay" (Miller, pg. 87, Dun Emer Press, Later the Cuala Press). In February 1925 the Cuala Press leased a shop and workroom at 133 Lower Baggot Street where they could showcase and sell their books, prints, cards and embroideries directly to the public. Elizabeth Corbet Yeats died on the 16th January 1940 and Georgie Hyde-Lees, wife of W.B Yeats ,along with F.R Higgins as editor, ran the press until her death in 1968.
Scope And Content The contents of the Cuala Press Print collection donated by Vin Ryan include 111 hand coloured prints and cards designed, printed and sold by Cuala Press between 1906-1968. The hand coloured prints, greeting cards and Christmas cards were issued between 1906 and 1968 and were reproduced from the original photoengraved blocks throughout the life of the press and therefore the dates given in the description are the dates when the print was initially designed. The dates of the prints in this collection are unknown and a covering date of [1906-1968] is used to represent the dates as they were printed during this timeframe. These hand coloured photoengraved prints were made using the Albion Hand press and hand painted by the employees of the press. The prints varied in size and consist of a series of illuminated poems, with text by W.B. Yeats and various decorative hand coloured prints most depicting Irish landscapes, folk scenes and Irish rural life some with extracts from poetry and prose in Caslon Old Face in 14pt. The collection also includes a printed booklet of St Patrick's Breastplate and prints from this with illustrated letters.
Arrangement The collection is arranged alphabetically by Artist's surname and then according to the Cuala Press print number where known. The Cuala catalogue numbers are taken from MS 11535 49/19, 'List of hand-printed and hand-coloured prints with words [.] Also poems with initial letters.' [c1942]. Catalogue numbers are also taken from MS11535/49/22 'Christmas Card List published from 46 Palmerstown Road, Dublin [c1950'], MS11535/49A/20 'Cuala Press Prints brochure [c1920]' and MS11535 50/5 "A list of hand coloured prints now available for sale, The Cuala Press, 116 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2 Ireland c[1971]." Some prints were framed together by the donor and these are intellectually linked in the notes section. The dates given in the 'Jack Yeats Cuala Press prints' series where known are taken from Hilary Pyle 'The Different Worlds of Jack B. Yeats: His Cartoons and Illustrations'. pp283-295.
Custodial History Presented 2017
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Copyright Please contact
Language English
Public Note The Cuala Press Prints have been digisited and are available to view in the Library's Digital Collections repository using this link:
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