Delicious for historians and biographers, the Cuala Press is more than one of the many fine presses of the Arts and Crafts Movement. It is also a fascinating window into the movement known as the Irish Literary Revival, itself a large part of the Celtic Revival (turn of the twentieth century through to the birth of Modernism). An interesting comparison to note, would be the effect that private printing had on the Modernists as well as the Beat literary movements.
Cuala Press was started by no less than the sisters of the playwright, poet, and writer W.B. Yeats, and was operated as a part of a ‘Dun Emer Guild’ which sought to develop the crafts and principles of the Arts and Crafts Movement in Ireland. Understandably, at the time, there were also many debates and questions over home rule for southern Ireland – and such an independent endeavour, empowering Irish printers, artists, and writers, attracted great support. By the advent of the first world war, the ‘Dun Emer Guild’ had developed into an arts and crafts studio, with furniture and home decorations development, as well as embroidery, lace and rug making – as well as the Cuala Press. Cuala split to become its own dedicated entity, a fine private press, printing primarily writers and poets of the Irish Literary Revival. It has to also be noted that, of the many, many publications that the press managed to put out over the years (over 70 is less than fifty years), at least 45 of them where written by W.B. Yeats himself. Although, despite concentrating on the closest writers at hand, the Cuala Press did have another great claim to fame: that it was almost entirely staffed, run, and operated by the Yeats sisters, Elizabeth and Lilly. Not many of the Arts and Crafts private presses can say that they even achieved gender parity in their workplace, let alone any run entirely by women!
Given its history; it is perhaps unsurprising that its finest works are much sought after. Consider their Synge and the Ireland of his Time (1911) written and signed by W.B. Yeats himself, about his friend and colleague the playwright John Millington Synge. A single edition (signed) worth some $3000. For those with more modest means, then consider another very pleasing volume The Post Office by Rabrindranath Tagore (1914) which can be found for a very reasonable $375.
A truly remarkable wonder, however, would be Cuala Press’s Selections from the Writings of Lord Dunsany, with an introduction by W.B. Yeats (1912) the hardcover of which would be priced at around $1250.
Yeats, John Butler. Early Memories. Cuala Press (1023). Some Chapters Of Autobiography; 500 copies.
Johnson, Lionel. Twenty-One Poems. Cuala Press (1907). Selected By William Butler Yeats; 220 copies.
Synge, John M. Poems And Translations. Cuala Press (1909). preface by W.B. Yeats; 250 copies.
Synge, John M. Dierdre Of The Sorrows. Cuala Press (1910). A Play; preface by W.B Yeats; 250 copies
Yeats, William Butler. Synge And The Ireland Of His Time. Cuala Press (1911). With A Note Concerning A Walk Through Connemara With Him By Jack Butler Yeats; 350 copies.
Dunsany, Lord. Selections From The Writings Of Lord Dunsany. Cuala Press (1912). Introduction By WB Yeats; 250 copies
Yeats, William Butler. A Selection Of Love Poetry. Cuala Press (1913). Printed and published by Elizabeth C Yeats; 300 copies
Yeats, Elizabeth C. A Womens Reliquary. Cuala Press (1913). Dowden, Edward, Editor; 300 copies
Yeats, W.B. Responsibilities. Cuala Press (1914). Poems And A Play; 400 copies; Includes September, 1913, To a Friend whose Work has come to Nothing and The Cold Heaven, among other poems
Tagore, Rabindranath. The Post Office. Cuala Press (1914). Translated By Devabrata Mukerjea; With A Preface By W.B.Yeats; 400 copies.
Masefield, John. John M. Synge. Cuala Press (1915). A Few Personal Recollections, With Biographical Notes By John Masefield; 350 copies
Yeats, W.B. Reveries Over Childhood And Youth.. Cuala Press (1915). Two volumes; 1st edition limited to 425 copies; a colour print of Memory Harbour by Jack B. Yeats, this with a one page printed note by W.B. Yeats, and portraits of each of Yeats parents, both photogravures after drawings by J.B. Yeats; Total 450 copies
Pound, Ezra. Certain Noble Plays Of Japan. Cuala Press (1916). From The Manuscripts Of Ernest Fenollosa, Chosen And Finished By Ezra Pound, With An Introduction By William Butler Yeats; 350 copies.
Yeats, John Butler. Passages From The Letters Of John Butler Yeats. Cuala Press (1917). Passages taken from letters written between 1911 and 1916 to W.B. Yeats, with editors note by Ezra Pound. Published and printed by Elizabeth Corbet Yeats on paper made in Ireland.; 400 copies
Yeats, W. B. The Wild Swans At Coole. Cuala Press (1917). 400 copies; Also includes The Collar Bone of a Hare, Lines Written in Dejection, and the long poem, Upon A Dying Lady.
Gregory, Lady. The Kiltartan Poetry Book. Cuala Press (1918). Prose Translations From The Irish; 400 copies
Yeats, William Butler. Two Plays For Dancers.. Cuala Press (1919). Title Page Cut By T. Sturge Moore; 400 copies
Yeats, J.B. Further Letters Of John Butler Yeats. Cuala Press (1920). Robinson Lennox (Editor); Selected By Lennox Robinson; 400 copies printed and published by Elizabeth Corbet Yeats.
Yeats, William Butler. Four Years.. Cuala Press (1921). Title-page wood engraving by T. Sturge Moore; 400 copies
Gogarty, Oliver. An Offering Of Swans.. Cuala Press (1923). 300 copies; Introduction by W.B.Yeats
Yeats, John Butler. Early Memories. Cuala Press (1923). Some Chapters Of Autobiography; 500 copies.
Flower, Robin. Loves Bitter-Sweet.. Cuala Press (1925). Translations From The Irish Poets Of The Sixteenth And Seventeenth Centuries; 500 copies of this book have been printed on paper made in Ireland, and published by Elizabeth Corbet Yeat
Yeats, W.B. The Bounty Of Sweden. Cuala Press (1925). Ameditation, And A Lecture Delivered Before The Royal Swedish Academy And Certain Notes By William Butler Yeats; 400 copies
Parnell, Thomas. Poems. Cuala Press (1927). Selected By Lennox Robinson; 200 copies
Robinson, Lennox. A Little Anthology Of Modern Irish Verse.. Cuala Press (1928). 300 copies; 23 poems by 20 poets, including Yeats, Lady Gregory, L.A.G. Strong, Frank O’Connor and A.E. Wade, E.R.Dodds, Francis Macnamara and Sailing to Byzantium by W.B. Yeats
Yeats, William Butler. The Death Of Synge. Cuala Press (1928). And Other Passages From An Old Diary. 400 copies have been published by Elizabeth Corbet Yeats with a woodcut by her on the title page.
Gogarty, Oliver. Wild Apples. Cuala Press (1930). With Preface By William Butler Yeats; 250 copies
Yeats, William Butler. Stories Of Michael Robartes And His Friends. Cuala Press (1931). An Extract From A Record Made By His Pupils: And A Play In Prose By W B Yeats; 450 copies; Woodcut title pressmark (Unicorn) by Edmund Dulac.
Oconnor, Frank. The Wild Birds Nest. Cuala Press (1932). Poems From The Irish; With An Essay On The Character In Irish Literature By A. E; 250 copies
Higgins, F.R. Arable Holdings. Cuala Press (1933). Poems; 300 copies
Rossi, Mario M. Pilgrimage In The West. Cuala Press (1933). Translated By J.M. Hone; 300 copies.
Yeats, William Butler. The King Of The Great Clock Tower. Cuala Press (1934). Commentaries And Poems; 400 copies.
Yeats, William Butler. The Words Upon The Window Pane. Cuala Press (1934). A Play In One Act, With Notes Upon The Play And Its Subject; 350 copies
Yeats, William Butler. Dramatis Personae.. Cuala Press (1935). Woodcut title pressmark (Lone tree in Irish landscape) by Elizabeth Yeats; 400 copies
Yeats, W.B. Essays 1931-1936.. Cuala Press (1937). 300 copies published by Elizabeth Corbet Yeats
Oconnor, Frank. Lords And Commons. Cuala Press (1938). Translations From The Irish; 250 copies
Yeats, W. B. New Poems. Cuala Press (1938). Title woodcut engraving Monoceros de Astris by T. Sturge Moore; New Poems includes the first book appearance of Lapis Lazuli. The collection also includes The Municipal Gallery Re-Visited, An Acre of Grass, among others; 450 copies
Yeats, W. B. On The Boiler.. Cuala Press (1938). drawing by Jack B. Yeats
Yeats, W. B. Last Poems And Two Plays.,. Cuala Press (1939). 500 copies; Last Poems includes Under Ben Bulben, Long-Legged Fly, A Stick of Incense, John Kinsellas Lament for Mrs. Mary Moore; Woodcut title pressmark (Unicorn) by Edmund Dulac
Yeats, William Butler:. On The Boiler.. Cuala Press (1939). According to Mrs. Yeats only about four copies of the first edition were issued; Printed wrappers, with pictorial vignette by Jack Yeats
Yeats, W. B. If I Were Four-And-Twenty.. Cuala Press (1940). 450 copies printed by Esther Ryan and Maire Gill on paper made in Ireland.
Macneice, Louis. The Last Ditch.. Cuala Press (1940). 450 copies; Twenty-five poems; 25 numbered copies signed by the author.
Yeats, W.B. Florence Farr, Bernard Shaw And W.B. Yeats.. Cuala Press (1941). Edited By Clifford Bax; 500 copies
Bowen, Elizabeth. Seven Winters.. Cuala Press (1942). 450 numbered copies.
Kavanagh, Patrick. The Great Hunger. Cuala Press (1942). 250 numbered copies
Oconnor, Frank. A Picture Book. Cuala Press (1943). Illustrated By Elizabeth Rivers; 480 copies.
Yeats, Jack B. La La Noo. Cuala Press (1943). 250 copies.
Heseltine, Nigel. Dafydd Ap Gwilym Selected Poems. Cuala Press (1944). 280 copies; 25 poems.
Ap Gwilym, Dafydd. Selected Poems. Cuala Press (1944). Translated By Nigel Heseltine, With A Preface By Frank Oconnor; 280 copies.
Davis, Thomas. The Love Story Of Thomas Davis Told In The Letters Of Annie Hutton. Cuala Press (1945). Edited With An Introduction By Joseph Hone; 280 copies
Yeats, W.B. Reflections. Cuala Press (1970). Transcribed And Edited By Curtis Bradford From The Journals; 500 copies printed on paper made in Ireland.
Oconnell , Eileen. A Lament For Art Oleary. Cuala Press (1971). Translated From The Irish By Frank Oconnor; 6 coloured plates by Jack B. Yeats
Yeats, Jack B:. A Little Book Of Drawings. Cuala Press (1971). Gathered From A Broadside. 1000 copies; 200 copies are hand coloured.
Yeats, Jack B. Broadside Characters. Cuala Press (1971). Introduction By Anne Yeats; Drawings By Jack B. Yeats; Coloured title-page vignette and eight coloured plates by Jack B. Yeats; 300 numbered copies
Yeats, W. B. Turner. Broadsides. Cuala Press (1971). A Collection Of Old And New Songs 1935; Songs by W.B. Yeats, Gogarty, Belloc, Wellesley, Stephens, Sitwell, OConnor etc and superb colour illustrations by Jack B. Yeats, Victor Browne, Harry Kernoff and Maurice McGonigal.
Synge, John M. Some Letters To Lady Gregory And W. B. Yeats. Cuala Press (1971). Selected By Anne Saddlemyer; 500 copies.
Montague, John. A Fair House. Cuala Press (1972). Versions Of Irish Poetry; 350 copies
Yeats, John Butler. Letters From Bedford Park. Cuala Press (1972). A Selection From The Correspondence (1890-1901) Of John Butler Yeats. Edited With Introduction And Notes By William M. Murphy; Title-page woodcut pressmark Lady Emer and tree by Elinor Monsell in red; 500 copies.
Kinsella, Thomas. Notes From The Land Of The Dead. Cuala Press (1972). Poems By Thomas Kinsella; 500 copies
Montague, John. A Fair House. Cuala Press (1973). Versions Of Irish Poetry; 350 copies
Yeats, William Butler. The Speckled Bird. Cuala Press (1974). Edited By William H. Odonnell; Two volumes; 500 copies
Macneice, Louis. The Revenant. Cuala Press (1975). A Song-Cycle For Hedli Anderson;. Two page Introduction by Hedli MacNeice; A sequence of twelve songs, divided by eleven interludes, originally written in the early 1940s; 350 copies
Ussher, Arland. From A Dark Lantern. Cuala Press (1978). A Journal - Edited And Arranged By Roger Nyle Parisious; A Wood Engraving By Leo Wyatt; 350 copies