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Edward Gordon Craig (1872-1966)

Edward Gordon Craig (1872 – 1966) was an actor, stage designer and theatre theorist , who ascribed to the symbolist movement. He was the illegitimate son of architect Edward Godwin and actress Ellen Terry, and his childhood was spent backstage at the Lyceum where his mother and Sir Henry Irvin performed.

He worked as an actor in the company of Sir Henry Irving, but became more and more interested in art, learning to carve wood under the tutelage of James Pryde and William Nicholson. His acting career ended in 1897, when he went into theatrical design.

Craig’s designs used lighting and movable screens to create drama in his stage designs, and often used the medium of woodcutting to explore his designs. He published The Art of The Theatre in 1905, influenced by the Italian mannerist article to Sebastiano Serlio’s (1475 – c. 1554) books of Architettura (1545).

He also created wood engraving to illustrate plays. He travelled to Europe where he met Count Kessler, who commissioned him to produce wood engravings to illustrate Hofmannsthal’s play ‘The White Fan’. In 1912 Craig work with theatre giant Stanislavsky, on a production of Hamlet.

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