The blog is a little neglected of late, due to my move (more on that later).
For the interim, I have written a short piece about the Dun Emer/Cuala Press press mark, iconic to those, like me, whose research interests lie in the Irish Celtic, Artistic and Literary revival at the turn of the nineteenth-century. I thought it would be appropriate, considering it is St. Bridget's Day and the beginning of Spring here.
“The Lady Emer Standing by a Tree”, (image via Scolar Cardiff).
The Cuala Press (est. 1908) began its life as part of the Dun Emer Guild, founded by the Yeats sisters (Elizabeth and Lily, sisters of the poet) and their friend Evelyn Gleeson in 1902, in Dundrum, Co. Dublin. The name Dun Emer (Fort of Emer) was named for the Lady Emer, wife of the hero Cúchulainn, renowned in Irish folklore for her beauty and artistic skills. Elizabeth Yeats initally began her career working with William Morris, founder of the Kelmscott Press, and Cuala took inspiration from Morris’s Arts and Crafts Movement. Unlike most Arts and Crafts presses, however, the Cuala Press concentrated on publishing new works, often by writers associated with the Irish Literary Revival.
The title-page woodcut pressmark, seen here, was designed by friend Elinor Monsell, entitled “The Lady Emer Standing by a Tree”. Monsell, born in Co. Limerick, had studied at the Slade School of Art in London, and also designed the Abbey Theatre logo, which depicts which depicts Maeve with a wolfhound.