Dolmen Collection, Printing Blocks Series


The Z. Smith Reynolds Library at Wake Forest University acquired the Dolmen’s design work, printing plates, correspondence and administrative papers in the late 1980s. The Dolmen Printing Plates include the works of Tate Adams, Pauline Bewick, Leonard Baskin, Louis le Brocquy, Juanita Casey, and the like. Materials include metal, wood, and linoleum.

Working with the Collection

ZSR Fellow Sophie Leveque, Preservation Librarian Craig Fansler, and Collections Archivist Stephanie Bennett worked on processing the Dolmen Plate Collection from October 2016-June 2017. Sophie wrote three blog posts about the project covering: processing, metadata standardization and digital platforms, and observations about the collection. Decisions about how or why things were organized in this project are detailed in these blog posts. Our main goal was to make the images accessible, make the finding aid more accurate, and the boxes less heavy and better organized. After eight months processing over 1,200 plates, the collection was organized into 37 boxes.

The Dolmen XXV: A Bibliography 1951-1976 by Liam Miller helped us tremendously when we were trying to link an image to an artist or publication.

Identified Women Artists and Their Works

14 women artists make up 18%, or 224 plates, of the collection. Preservation Librarian Craig Fansler has written many blog posts about the women artists of the Dolmen. Leslie MacWeeney, Pauline Bewick, Elizabeth Rivers, and Juanita Casey. The following is a list of women, the number of plates that are confirmed to have been created by each woman, and a brief summary of their style or subject matter.

Pauline Bewick
7 plates. Plate images vary from abstract figures and women. There is one cat image. Her style is whimsical.
Ruth Brandt
37 plates. Half of Brandt’s work is overtly religious images from “Treasury of Irish Saints” by John Irvine. There are nuns and two Adam and Eve scenes. There are only two images of women that seem to be not religious: one woman holding a basket and one mythical image of a woman with the body of an eagle. There is also one plate of a Pegasus.
Mia Cranwill
13 plates. Cranwill’s work is either from “Galion” by Ewart Milne or “Longes mac nUsnig: Being the Exile and Death of the Sons of Usnech” Translated by Thomas Kinsella. Only two of her images are of unknown publication.
Juanita Casey
9 plates. All for Casey’s work is for her own books and all are images of horses.
Rhoda Coghill
1 plate. A flower for her book, “Time is a Squirrel.”
Elinor Darwin/ Elinor Monsel
5 plates. Two Dun Emer Press marks and three Abbey Theater logos.
Althea Gyles
3 plates. Gyles’s work has two book covers. “The Secret Rose” book cover and the “Knight on Hill” book cover. The third plate is a rose in the middle of ornate spears.
Norah McGuinness
3 plates. All plates from “The Plays of George Fitzmaurice” by George Fitzmaurice. All very bizarre sketch style. Two plates are scenes of people on flying donkeys, the third is a woman on a cliff.
Leslie McWeeney
40 plates. There are 18 images of women or gender ambiguous figures. Only one of those could be religious as it is a woman and child. Only two other generic Christian images. Themes of McWeeney’s work include nature and tarot cards. There are many images from “The Thoughts of Wi Wong” by Arland Ussher. Only two of the images could not be attributed to a publication.
Elizabeth Rivers
61 plates. 28 abstract images from “Out of Bedlam: XXVII wood engravings” by Elizabeth Rivers and Christopher Smart. 27 images attributed to her, but of unknown publication. In addition, 30 images have possible or overt Christian symbolism. Only 17 images have women or gender ambiguous figures, and of those 4 are religious. On the surface, this shows  that many of the images that feature women are not necessarily a “Mary” figure, but in fact, most of these 17 images are images of groups of people where it is difficult to tell who is in the crowd. Six images of birds.
Estella Solomons
26 plates. All her images are from “Retrospect: The Work of Seumas O’Sullivan, 1879-1958, & Estella F Solomons, 1882-1968” by Liam Miller. No religious imagery at all. Five images of women. *Images of people tend to be done portrait style. 13 landscape images. 2 images of libraries.
Bridget Swinton
17 plates. 14 images from “Aqua Vitae: Its Commodities Describ’d” by Richard Stanyhurst. None of the images from this title are religious or have women. Are all men working. One image is of a wheat stalk. Two images from “Longes mac nUsnig: The Exile of the Sons of Usnech & The Exile of Fergus & the Death of the Sons on Usnech & Deirdre” by Thomas Kinsella. Both of a figure holding a dog (Gender of figure unclear).
Anne Yeats
1 plate. Abstract sketch of Woman’s Face, from “The Heavenly Foreigner” by Denis Devlin
Georgie Yeats
1 plate. Copy of handwriting from “From Blake to ‘A Vision'” by Kathleen Raine (New Yeats Papers XVII)

Unidentified Artworks

There are about 600 plates that we could not fully link to an artist or printed publication. There are an additional roughly 50 plates we did not print because they were too fragile. Our hunch is that the Dolmen had many plates that were made but never printed. Here are some numbers to consider:

  • 463 of these are of unknown artist and title it is published in
  • We found 144 images in a publication, but not information about the artist that made it. For example, we have 21 images from the book, “From Blake to ‘A Vision’” by Kathleen Raine (New Yeats Papers XVII) for which we are unsure of the artist, but have confirmed they are in the book.
  • Of the 463 unknown plates, 83 images portray women. Of those, 13 have religious connotations, and 40 of them have genderless or ambiguous figures.
  • Of the 144 unknown artist subset, 13 plates feature women (2 include beastiality) and 7 are religious images.

Identified Men Artists and Their Works

50 male artists make up 375 plates or about 30% of the collection. The following is the list of male artists. We have the most volume of plates by Tate Adams, Michael Biggs, and Louis Le Brocquy. Craig Fansler has written blog posts about: Tate Adams and Michael Biggs.

Adams, Tate, 1922-
68 plates
Baskin, Leonard, 1922-2000
3 plates
Beardsley, Aubrey, 1872-1898
4 plates
Biggs, Michael, 1928-1993
78 plates
Blake, William
13 plates
Boske, Joe, 1951-
1 plate
Burge, J.
2 plates
Childs, Bernard, 1910-1985
14 plates
Clarke, Harry, 1889-1931
2 plates
Coughlin, Jack
11 plates
Craig, Edward Gordon
1 plate
da Vinci, Leonardo, 1452-1519
1 plate
Derricke, John
15 plates
Dulac, Edmund, 1882-1953
1 plate
Dürer-Haus, Albrecht
1 plate
Farrell, Don
1 plate
Fludd, Robert, 1574-1637
1 plate
Freher, D.A.
2 plates
Froben, Johann
1 plate
1 plate
Gelderen, Gerrit van
4 plates
Gregory, William Robert, 1881-1918
3 plates
Hayter, Stanley William, 1901-1988
2 plates
1 plate
Kearns, Hugh
5 plates
Keating, Seán, 1889-1977
1 plate
Kivoshi, Otsuji
1 plate
3 plates
Kirkwood, J.
1 plate
Le Brocquy, Louis, 1916-2012
55 plates
McCarthy, John
7 plates
Lambert, Maurice, 1901-1964
2 plates
Miller, Liam
15 plates
Moore, T. Sturge (Thomas Sturge), 1870-1944
1 plate
Morrow, Michael, 1929-1994
16 plates
Motonobu, Karo
1 plate
Neville, Roberts H.
2 plates
O’ Sullivan, Sean
3 plates
Patton, Eric
2 plates
Reid, Alex
1 plate
Ryan, Thomas, 1929-
2 plates
2 plates
1 plate
Smith, D. Travers
1 plate
1 plate
Synge, J. M. (John Millington), 1871-1909
2 plates
2 plates
Yeats, Jack B. (Jack Butler), 1871-1957
5 plates
Yoshihiko, Maejima
2 plates
Yoshikoshi, Tatsuo, 1923-1998
8 plates

Created by Sophie Leveque, ZSR Fellow, 2017 August