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Two Cuala Press Visual Artists.

This blog presents the work of two Cuala Press artists, Eileen Greig and Anne Price, about whom the TCD Schooner Foundation Cuala Press research project is seeking more information on their work and careers. It is an objective of the Project to acknowledge and recover overlooked artists who worked for the Press, and to associate the better-known artists with their often-overlooked Cuala design work.

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Loose Book Illustrations in the Fagel Map Portfolios

by Emily Monty

Dr Emily Monty was the Fagel Collection Visiting Research Fellow in autumn 2022. She was hosted by the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts & Humanities Research Institute at Trinity College Dublin. You can view a conversation between Emily and Ann-Marie Hansen, Project Manager of Unlocking the Fagel Collection here.

The Fagel Collection holds important material history for the study of publishing and collecting in the Dutch Republic of the eighteenth-century. The map portfolios alone contain over 1600 sheets and represent an extraordinary collection of rare and unusually well-preserved materials. Such collections of loose print and manuscript images in their original portfolios rarely survive intact, making the Fagel examples all the more important from the perspective of material and cultural history.

During a three-month Visiting Research Fellowship at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), I came across a series of illustrations for an eighteenth-century travel narrative of the Caribbean in Portfolio XXII. These precious fragments of a larger illustration project reveal material evidence about practices in book publishing and collecting in The Hague, and give insight into the other discoveries that are waiting to be made as scholars continue to study the portfolio prints and related books held in the Fagel collection. In the following blog post, I describe my research methods and conclusions in hopes of promoting future research on the contents of these portfolios.

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Cluna Studios. A competitor for Cuala Press art prints.

Billy Shortall.

While this blog series focuses on the Cuala Industries, it is interesting to look to their Irish contemporaries working in craft printing.  With its establishment in 1922, Cluna Studios emerged as the main competitor to the Cuala Press and Industries, most noticeably in the profitable line of hand coloured art prints and cards.

In ‘Announcements by Members of the Guild of Irish Art-Workers’ published in the Arts and Crafts Society of Ireland and Guild of Irish Art-Workers Seventh Exhibition catalogue of 1925, notices for the Cuala and Cluna studios faced each other. Both advertised their hand-coloured prints, cards, calendars, embroidery, and painted wood items such as, candlesticks, bowls, boxes, hairbrushes, and so on. Cuala alone sold hand-printed books. Like Cuala, and the Dun Emer studies, the Cluna Studio was an arts and crafts enterprise established by women craftworkers, namely Gertrude (Gertie) Grew and Margaret (Daisy) O’Keefe, when Ireland was on the cusp of independence.

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Dismembered Manuscript: a tale for Hallow’een

Dismembered Manuscript: a tale for Hallow’een

Bram Stoker’s claim to enduring fame lies in the book Dracula, perennially popular in every form of cultural expression most especially at Hallow’een. However, this is a posthumous development and, in his lifetime, Stoker was best known as a writer of non-fiction. The last, and most popular, of his four non-fiction books was a work called Famous Imposters (1910) the author’s curious study of duplicitous behaviour and fraudulent schemes throughout history.

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Elizabeth Yeats, artist and teacher in the arts and crafts tradition.

Billy Shortall.

The Dun Emer, and later Cuala Industries were pioneering female-led studios in the Irish Arts and Crafts Movement. They promoted handmade work, wove beautiful carpets, produced exquisite needlecraft, and printed and bound beautiful books. They served the domestic and business market and they produced liturgical art objects. It was a collaboration of artists and designers using local Irish materials. It is worth quoting at length from the studios’ 1904 prospectus which rhymed with the ideals of the wider A&C Movement,

Everything as far as possible is Irish: the paper, the books, the linen of the embroidery and the wool of the tapestry and carpets. The designs are also of the spirit and tradition of the country. The education of the work girls is also part of the idea – they are thought to paint and their brains and fingers are made more active and understanding…

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