Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Print - Print Collection
  • Print Collection
    Edward Gordon Craig, born 1872 - died 1966
  • Enlarge image

Print Collection

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (engraved)

  • Date:

    1927 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Edward Gordon Craig, born 1872 - died 1966 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    wood-engraving on Japon paper

  • Credit Line:

    Bequest of Janet Leeper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Edward Gordon Craig (1872-1966), son of the architect Edward Godwin and the actress Ellen Terry, began his career as an actor at the Lyceum Theatre, where he appeared with Ellen Terry, and was hailed as one of the country's most promising young actors. He discovered his talent for woodcutting and engraving when introduced to it by the artists James Pryde and William Nicholson. His produced his first wood engraving in1893, and by 1899 he had engraved nearly 200 blocks, specialising in the new technique of 'white line' wood engravings in which the lines are un-inked and the image emerges from the surrounding ink.

This is one of several engravings Craig made in preparation for his 1912 production of Hamlet at the Moscow Art Theatre. It was used in the 1928 German arts press edition of Hamlet, printed by Count Harry Kessler's Cranach Press in Weimar. With typefont designed by Edward Johnston, the book consisted of Gerhart Hauptman's translation of the second quarto of Shakespeare's play. An English version was printed in 1930. Craig worked on the illustrations for over a period seventeen years, developing his designs from his 1912 production.

Craig continued wood engraving but after 1900 developed a career as a stage designer and director with revolutionary ideas of staging and lighting. He broke with accepted traditions of stage realism and moved towards minimalist staging with innovative lighting, although many of his projects were abandoned due to his inability to compromise.

Physical description

Wood-engraving on Japon paper by Edward Gordon Craig of the first Court scene from 'Hamlet', from the Cranach Press edition of Hamlet, showing Claudius and Gertrude sitting centrally at the top of a flight of steps, Hamlet at the foot of the steps and the Court sitting in the foreground. Dated in pencil lower left '1927' and inscribed lower right with the monogram 'EGC'.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (engraved)


1927 (printed)


Edward Gordon Craig, born 1872 - died 1966 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

wood-engraving on Japon paper

Marks and inscriptions

'1927' inscribed in pencil

'ECG' inscribed in pencil
Mondogram of Edward Gordon CRaig

'Wood engraving from the Cranach Press Hamlet by Gordon Craig Property of Mrs. J. Leeper 30 Bramham Gardens SW5'
Inscribed in pencil on parcel tape originally on the back of a frame.

'Lights lights lights' from Cranach Press Hamlet by Gordon Craig Property of Mrs. J. Leeper 30 Bramham Gardens'
Inscribed in pencil on parcel tape originally on the back of a frame.

'3rd State'
Inscribed in pencil

'Only 12 copies printed. Copy no.2'
Printed in blue ink, with the exception of the numbers 12 and 2 which are inscribed in pencil.

Inscribed in pencil


Height: 17.6 cm original sheet, Width: 25.0 cm original sheet, Height: 22.0 cm, Width: 28.4 cm

Object history note

Having agreed to produce Hamlet foor Constrantin Stanislavsky as the Moscow Art Theatre, Craig worked in Russia from 1908 until the openingof the prodiction on 8 January 1912. He spent much of the winter and spring in the city, working on the settings and costumes as well as the directions of the play.

Descriptive line

The actors are come hither The first Court scene from Hamlet, from the Cranach Press edition of Shakespeare's Hamlet, 1928. Wood engraving on Japon paper by Edward Gordon Craig (1872-1966).


Mounting board; Printing paper; Lithographic ink


Printed; Inscribed


Entertainment & Leisure; Theatre; Prints


Theatre and Performance Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.