Art for St Brigid’s Day

 

Today is St Brigid’s Day, a religious feast-day honouring the fifth-century Co Kildare nun who, with Patrick and Colmcille, is one of Ireland’s three patron saints.

A broadside (a poster designed to be framed and hung on a wall) published by Dublin’s Cuala Press in the 1920s, reflects the saint’s association with the start of spring and the lambing season.

It features work by two largely forgotten women of the early 20th-century Celtic Revival movement: the poet Winifred Mary Letts, an English writer who spent most of her life in Ireland, and Kathleen Verschoyle, a Dublin artist.

The Cuala Press was established in 1908 by Elizabeth Yeats, a sister of the poet WB Yeats and the painter Jack B Yeats, and published books, greeting cards and prints by Irish authors and artists. Unusually for the era, the private company was run and staffed exclusively by women.

The output of the Cuala Press is now sought after by collectors, according to the rare book and manuscript specialist, Fonsie Mealy.

The most recent copy of the St Brigid poster to turn up at auction sold for €130.

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