The Abbey Theatre in Dublin, Ireland opened in December 1904 and was a showcase for many of the leading Irish playwrights and actors of the 20th century including William Butler Yeats, Lady Gregory Augusta, Sean O'Casey and John Millington Synge. Its plays and players were at times the focus of controversy, as with the production of Synge's The Playboy of the Western World and George Bernard Shaw's The Shewing-Up of Blanco Posnet.
The image at the right is a detail from the Abbey Theatre Tray Cloth showing the 1913 cast of The Shewing-Up of Blanco Posnet along with portraits drawn by John Butler Yeats.
The Abbey Theatre tray cloth, sometimes called the Abbey Hankerchief or referred to as a souvenir programme, was printed and sold in 1913 as part of the fundraising efforts toward a permanent gallery for artwork collected by Lady Gregory's nephew, Sir Hugh Lane. Much of the fundraising was done through an American tour, including an extended stay in New York.
This item is from the collection of Ann Saddlemyer; the original is available for viewing in Special Collections.
see also: Ann Saddlemyer fonds