Edward Gordon Craig's first publications

Edward Gordon Craig (1872-1966), Gordon Craig’s Book of Penny Toys (Hackbridge, Surrey: Published at the Sign of the Rose; London : Sold by Lamley, 1899). 43 prints.Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize NE1326.5.T68 C73 1899q

The British actor, director and artist Edward Gordon Craig (1872-1966) was the son of actress Ellen Terry and designer Edwin Godwin. He began his professional career as an actor with Henry Irving’s company at his Lyceum Theatre in London. Craig played Hamlet in 1894 and again in 1896, but gave up acting soon after. His interest in art and design became more important to him and ultimately, occupied all his time and energies.

It was in Uxbridge around 1893 that Craig met the artists James Ferrier Pryde and William Nicholson, from whom he learned to make prints and in particular, fell in love with the woodcut. In 1898, Craig started a magazine, The Page, which he edited, illustrated, and published as an outlet for his own work. In less than two years, he had completed nearly 200 woodblocks and published Gordon Craig’s Book of Penny Toys.

Craig printed 500 copies of Penny Toys and began to hand color them but before long, tired of this work. His solution was to burn 250 copies to reduce the edition size. Craig continued coloring the books and is said to have finished approximately 100 of the remaining 250 before he turned the rest of the coloring over to Jess Dorynne.

Craig moved to Germany in 1904, where he wrote and published On the Art of the Theatre. A few years later, Constantin Stanislavski invited him to direct Hamlet with the Moscow Arts Theatre. Craig also designed the sets, using a series of neutral, movable screens. He later presented a set to William Butler Yeats for use at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, Ireland.

The Page (Carshalton, Eng.: E.G. Craig, 1898-1901) Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) NE1000 .P333


I am so pleased to have found this page since it is very relevant to my current study of the music of Martin Shaw, whose first major song, 'The Palanquin Bearers' was included in the 1898 The Page. I hope to be able to find a copy at the British Library and I would be most grateful if anyone has any additional information about Shaw and Craig - who were very close friends - please let me know.
George Odam
Bath, England

Apparently Edwin G-C is very popular in Continental Europe. There has been an exhibition of his work recently in Madrid. My brother, Paul Reeves, lent some Godwin furniture to the exhibition. For more information on Godwin and his work consult www.paulreeveslondon.com

January 2010