Lady Gregory’s Copy Signatures of J.M. Synge & Jack B. Yeats
Synge (J.M.) & Yeats (Jack B.) The Aran Islands, 4to D. & L. (Maunsel & Co.) 1907. First Large Paper Edition. Limited, No. 39 of 150 Copies, Signed by J.M. Synge and Jack B. Yeats. 12 hand-coloured plates. In original wheat coloured cloth, gilt, a little browned at upper and outer margin, otherwise in excellent condition. Lady Gregory’s copy with her bookplate inside cover; and with the later signature of the distinguished Irish actor Jack Mac Gowran, Dublin 1972. This splendid volume is probably the finest Irish book of the first half of the twentieth century. Its publication marked a new era in Irish book design. The hand colouring was probably by members of the Cuala staff, working to examples supplied by Jack Yeats. A splendid association copy. Lady Gregory had a particularly soft spot for Synge, a central member of the group that launched the Irish Theatre Movement; her journals mention his ill health, his modesty and his need of proper feeding. He often stayed with her at Coole. He died within two years of the publication of these essays based on articles first written for the Manchester Guardian. * Although the hand coloured edition was of 150 copies, many of these are signed only by Yeats; presumably Synge’s ill-health prevented him signing the full edition. It is suggested that as little as maybe only 40-50 copies are signed by both. (1) Provenance: Lady Gregory, Jack Mac Gowran, Hanna Family.