CollectionThe Cuala Press Print Collection
Collection DescriptionThe 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. [Trinity College Dublin]
Collection Web Address
ReferenceTCD MS 11574

Resource is fully digitised.

The Cuala Press Print collection includes 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.

The Cuala Press Prints have been digisited and are available to view in the Library's Digital Collections repository using this link

AccessBy prior appointment.

Presented to Trinity College Dublin in 2017 by Vin Ryan.

Repository NameTrinity College Dublin, Manuscripts and Archives Department
AddressOld Library Dublin 2
EircodeD02 PN40
Telephone(01) 896-1189
Telephone 2(01) 896-3384
Repository Web Address
CommentThe information listed from this repository has been extracted from lists available in the archives. The lists were compiled by staff of Trinity College, Dublin Library and we are grateful for their assistance. Due to time constraints not all items in this repository were examined individually. We are grateful to Felicity O'Mahony for providing information on items and collections added since 1999.