Woodson Research Center, Rice University

Guide to the Carl Woodring collection on Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon,1846-2001, bulk 1898-1986 MS 513

creator Woodring, Carl, 1919-2009
Title: Carl Woodring collection on Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon
Dates: 1846-2001
Abstract: This collection contains the Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon research material of Dr. Carl Woodring including correspondence, articles and theses, works, Vale Press items, exhibition catalogs and other printed material. An extensive book collection, paintings and drawings are included in the collection.
Identification: MS 513
Quantity: 5 Cubic Feet(10 boxes + oversized materials)
Language: English
Repository: Woodson Research Center, Rice University, Houston, Texas

Biographical Sketch

Carl Woodring (1919-) was born in Texas, received his B.A. from Rice University in Houston and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard. Dr. Woodring, Woodberry Professor Emeritus of Literature, Columbia University, has been accorded many distinctions including the Phi Beta Kappa award (1972) for his book on William Wordsworth, Politics in English Romantic Poetry, a Ford Foundation grant for 1955-56 and a Guggenheim Fellowship for 1958-59. Considered a renowned authority on the Romantic Period in English Literature, Woodring is the author of numerous articles and books including Politics in the Poetry of Coleridge (1961), Wordsworth (1965),Nature into Art: Cultural Transformations in Nineteenth-Century Britain (1989), (ed.) Table Talk of Samuel Taylor Coleridge for the Collected Coleridge, 2 vols. (1990), and (ed.) The Columbia History of British Poetry (1994).

Charles de Sousy Ricketts was born in Geneva, Switzerland on October 2, 1866. He was known as a book designer, theatre designer, sculptor and painter. His mother was musical; his father a painter of marine subjects. Ricketts spent his early years in Lausanne and London and his youth at Boulogne and Amiens in France. After his mother’s death, he returned to London with his father and in 1882 entered the City and Guilds Art School in Kennington, London, where he was apprenticed to Charles Roberts, a prominent wood-engraver. His father died a year later and on his sixteenth birthday he met his lifelong partner, Charles Haselwood Shannon.

Ricketts and Shannon founded an occasional art journal, The Dial (1889-1897) and the two artists also began designing and illustrating books, including Daphnis and Chloe (1893) and Hero and Leander (1894). Ricketts also worked for commercial publishers; his more famous books include John Gray’s Silverpoints (1893) and Oscar Wilde’s The Sphinx (1895).

In 1894 Ricketts met Llewellyn Hacon, a wealthy barrister, enabling him to realize his dream of being a publisher and he set up the Vale Press (1896-1904). Ricketts designed three fonts and numerous decorations and illustrations. After the closing of the Vale Press in 1904, he designed books for friends such as Katherine Bradley (1946-1914) and Edith Cooper (1862-1913) (pseudonym Michael Field) and Gordon Bottomley (1874-1948).

In 1900, Ricketts took up painting and sculpture. He was elected Associate of the Royal Academy in 1922 and Royal Academician in 1928. Ricketts also produced theatrical designs and was involved in about forty productions, including George Bernard Shaw’s St. Joan. He wrote several books on art and other subjects and acted as art consultant to various individuals and institutions

He and Shannon also built up their own collection of paintings, drawings, and antiquities; many are now at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge and at the British Museum. Charles Shannon, falling from a ladder, became disabled; this devastated Ricketts who died of a heart attack in 1931 – six years before his friend.

Charles Haselwood Shannon was born in Lincolnshire on April 26, 1863. He attended St. John’s School, Leatherhead (1873-1881) and then studied at the City and Guilds Technical Art School, an extension of the Lambeth Art School (1881-1885). It was there he met Charles Ricketts and it was the start of a lifelong friendship. By 1888, they had devised a strategy for their joint career; Ricketts was to provide the income and Shannon perfected his abilities as a painter. In 1897, Shannon sent two paintings and some lithographs to Munich where he was awarded a gold medal. Shannon’s self-portrait, The Man in the Black Shirt was completed that year.

Ricketts was the dominant figure in the artistic and literary circle that formed around them in Chelsea (1888-1898) and then in Richmond (1898-1902). Joint activities included their magazine, The Dial (1889-1897), design and illustration of Oscar Wilde’s books and wood-engravings for editions of Daphnis and Chloe (1893) and Hero and Leander (1894). They set up the Vale Press in 1896 complemented with a shop where work by Shannon and their friends could be bought.

Shannon had his own lithographic press and he produced a number of works including A Lithograph in White Line (1891), Summer (1892), and The Shepherd in a Mist. In painting, his traditional technique, deriving from the Venetians and the English eighteenth century, were the bases of his art. His works include an early success, The Lady with a Cyclamen (1899), a favorite sitter, Kathleen Bruce (1878-1947), is seen as The Sculptress (1904) and in The Winged Hat.

In 1902 Ricketts and Shannon returned to London to live in a flat in a block in Lansdowne Road, Holland Park. Shannon became an active exhibitor, for example at the New English Art Club and the International Society. He was elected Associate of the Royal Academy in 1911 and Royal Academician in 1920.

In January 1929 Shannon suffered a fall while hanging a picture in Townshend House, Regents Park, where they had moved in 1923. He suffered brain damage and never fully recovered. Ricketts sold some works to pay for nursing expenses and more went after Rickett’s death in 1931. Charles Shannon died on March 18, 1937.

Excerpted from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2006.

Scope and Contents

The materials are comprised of correspondence from Dr. Woodring to other Ricketts and Shannon scholars, booksellers, museums and libraries. There is also correspondence from Ricketts and Shannon as well as those in their circle such as Laurence Binyon, Gordon Bottomley and Thomas Sturge Moore.

Biographical material such as theses, articles, essays and exhibition catalogs are included as well as photocopies of artwork by Ricketts and Shannon. Included are proofs such as "The Sleeping Methymnaeans," signed by Shannon, from Daphnis and Chloe. Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon both worked on the designs and the cutting of the wood-blocks for this Vale Press publication. Of special note are works of art by Ricketts and Shannon, including oil paintings, drawings and a large collection of Shannon’s lithographs.

Vale Press ephemera, such as notices, prospectuses, and invitations are included. A collection of Vale Press titles, including The Vale Shakespeare (1900-1904), as well as an extensive book collection on Ricketts and Shannon, are among the holdings.


This collection is arranged into the following eight series:
Missing Title
Series I: Biographical information including theses, articles, and catalogs, 1914-1979
Series II: Personal and business correspondence, Carl Woodring, 1951- 2000
Series III: Correspondence, Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon, 1904-1931
Series IV: Other correspondents, Ricketts and Shannon contemporaries and others, 1846-1946
Series V: Designs and works, Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon, and others, 1821-1999
Series VI: Paintings and drawings, framed and oversized, 1890-1925
Series VII: Exhibition and auction catalogs, 1895-1997, undated
Series VIII: Card files, circa 1965 - 2002


Access Restrictions

This material is open for research.

Conditions Governing Access

Stored off-site at the Library Service Center. Please request this material via woodson@rice.edu or call 713-348-2586.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish from the Carl Woodring Collection on Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon, 1846-2001 must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.

Index Terms

paintings (visual works)
exhibition catalogs
Graphic design (Typography)
Illustration of books -- Great Britain
drawings (visual works)
Binyon, Laurence, 1869-1943
Bottomley, Gordon, 1874-1948
Bradley, Katharine Harris, 1846-1914
Cockerell, Sydney Carlyle, Sir, 1867-1962
Ballantyne Press.
Masefield, John, 1878-1967
Le Gallienne, Richard, 1866-1947
Ricketts, Charles S., 1886-1931
Moore, T. Sturge (Thomas Sturge), 1870-1944
Delaney, Paul, 1948-
Cooper, Edith Emma, 1862-1913
Hutchinson, F. E. (Francis Ernest), 1871-1947
Hacon, W. Llewellyn (William Llewellyn), 1860-1910
Woodring, Carl, 1919-2009
Shannon, Charles Hazelwood, 1863-1937
Rothenstein, William, 1872-1945
Vale Press.

Related Materials

The Ricketts and Shannon Book Collection, a cataloged book collection on Ricketts and Shannon, British cultural history, wood engraving, book illustration, theater design, notables such as Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats and Laurence Binyon, and of special note, a collection of Vale Press titles.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Carl Woodring Collection on Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon,1846-2001, MS 513, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University


This collection was a gift donated by Carl Woodring in 2004.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series I: Biographical information including theses, articles, and catalogs 1914-1979

Box Folder
1 1 Thesis, The Artistic Theories of Charles Ricketts, and their Application in His Book Illustration, by Alan Fern, 1954
2 Thesis, A Critical Examination of the Theatrical Designs of Charles Ricketts, by Eric Binnie, 1978
3 Gordon Bottomley, Grolier Club articles on Charles Ricketts, 1932, 1982
4 Carl Woodring biography proposal on Charles Shannon and Charles Ricketts, 1979
5 Wills and bequests, 1917, 1929
6 Catalog listing of Ricketts and Shannon personal collection, 1933
7 Catalogs, Ricketts and Shannon exhibitions with biographical information on Charles Ricketts, 1914, 1966
8 Charles Shannon article, by Paul Delaney, 1979
9 Clippings, articles, catalog notices, 1895-1970

Series II: Personal and business correspondence, Carl Woodring, 1951- 2000

Box Folder
1 10 Stephen Calloway, 1980, 1982
11 E.E. Cummings, 1951
12 Paul Delaney, 1978-1988
13 Charles Gullesin, 1966-1982
14 Laurence Irving, 1972-1985
15 Ian Kenyur Hodgkins, 1979
16 James Nelson, 1967, 1969
17 Albert Sperisen, 1971-1982
18 Riette Sturge Moore, 1971-1986, undated
Box Folder
2 1 Paul van Capleeven, 1997-1998
2 Bertram Rota, Ltd. (Anthony Rota, bookseller), 1968-2000
3 Bookseller correspondence, 1964-1990
4 Bookseller correspondence (want lists), undated
5 Museum and library correspondence, 1965-1990
6 Letters, other correspondents, 1965-1990

Series III: Correspondence, Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon, 1904-1931

Box Folder
2 7 Charles Ricketts correspondence, 1906-1931
General note
to Monsieur Douvray, of Anglo-French Review, postcard, undated
General note
to James Louis Garvin, [1917]
General note
to Mr. Laing regarding the book Titian, seven letters, 1906 –1910
General note
to J.A. Wilson regarding recollections of Oscar Wilde, [July 1931] and postcard, July 14, 1931
General note
to Howes Norris, Jr. (for autograph collection), November 9, 1930
General note
to "Dear Sir," a note card, "…Shannon is too ill to send you his autograph," undated
8 Charles Shannon correspondence, 1904-1929
General note
to "Dear Sir," a reply with prices for four of his paintings, July 11, 1904
General note
to "Dear Sir, Pennel is wrong as usual…," April 11, 1911
General note
to Mr. Bramley, for autograph collection, December 17, 1929

Series IV: Other Correspondents, Ricketts and Shannon contemporaries and others, 1846-1946

Box Folder
2 9 Laurence Binyon correspondence, 1918-1932
General note
to Sir John Adcock, ed. Bookman, June 21, 1918, October 21, 1921 and January 4, 1925
General note
to Miss Dawson, December 29, 1928
General note
to Francis Hutchinson, June 17, 1930
General note
to Sydney Matthwan, January 22, 1925
General note
to Wilson, September 19, 1932
10 Gordon Bottomley correspondence, 1925-1946
General note
to Clara T. Huttenbach, March 29, 1928 and August 8, 1930
General note
to Graham Huttenbach (a verse), February 17, 1925
General note
to Lillah McCarthy (Lady Keeble), December 27, 1941
General note
to Charles Ricketts, May 11, 1929
General note
to Graham Robertson, April 12, 1933
General note
to Jacques Vallette, June 3, 1946
11 Mary Cholmondeley to Lady Isabel November 27, [1902] and note, " No, no wicked temptress…," November 28 [1902]
12 Sydney C. Cockerell to Cormell Price, December 23, 1909
13 Thomas Evelyn Ellis to Mrs. Balkwill, October 16, 1922
14 Richard le Gallienne to Van der Weyde, undated
15 Ryllis Hacon (photograph of Mrs. Llewelyn Hacon inscribed to William Rothenstein), 1899
16 Anna Mary Howett to [William] Hepworth Dixon, [1856]
17 Mary Howett and William Howett correspondence, circa 1845-1861
General note
From Mary to Anna (Botham) Harrison (Mary's sister), [Spring, 1846]
General note
From Mary to John Chapman, April 26, 1853
General note
From Mary to R.H. Mason, March 6
General note
From Mary to "Dear Sir" [Woods], March 28, [1861]
General note
From William to "Gentlemen" regarding Bremer's Life in Delecarlia, circa 1845
General note
From William to Marcus Spring, March 28, 1861
18 George Herbert Leigh Mallory to Francis Hutchinson, undated
General note
Also a manuscript card, with poem "In memoriam to Mallory and Irvine, who lost their lives in the Mount Everest Expedition, 1924." Found in Hutchinson’s copy of Laurence Binyon, The Sirens: an Ode, 1925
19 John Edward Masefield (publicity photograph), 1916
20 Joseph Pennell to Gleeson White, undated
21 Lennox Robinson correspondence, 1933,1946, undated
General note
to R. B. Marriott, 1933
General note
Postcard to Hubert Burgess, 1946
General note
Abbey Theatre announcement and photograph of cat, signed on verso of mount, undated
22 James Jebsua Shannon to "Dear Madam…," 1890
23 Thomas Sturge Moore to Walter M. Sinclair, 1905
24 John Addington Symonds to Sir Henry Layard, 1883
25 Mary Seton Watts to Cecil French, 1928

Series V: Designs and works, Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon, and others, 1821-1999

Box Folder
3 1 Charles Ricketts, proofs, 1899, 1903, undated
General note
Copeland & Day, proof of bookplate. Line block in black on thin Japanese paper, undated
General note
De Cupidinis et Psyches Amoribus, India paper, proof 1, signed in pencil, Vale, 1901
General note
The Parables from the Gospels (The Lost Piece of Silver), India paper, proof 5, signed in pencil, Vale, 1903
General note
A Defense of the Revival of Printing, p. 3-6 on vellum, border and design by Ricketts, Vale, 1899
General note
Une Messe Macabre, India paper, engraved by Ricketts after Legros, signed "A. Legros," undated
General note
Young Girl and Death, India paper, engraved by Ricketts after Legros, signed "A. Legros," undated
General note
Oscar Wilde, Poems, proof of endpapers, 1892
2 Shannon proofs, 1893
General note
Daphnis and Chloe (Love in a Dream), India paper, trial proof, signed "C. Shannon," 1893
3 Galley proofs, page proofs for Michael Field, by Charles Ricketts, edited by Paul Delaney, 1976
4 Galley proofs, page proofs for Some Letters from Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon to Michael Field, edited by Paul Delaney, 1979
5 Charles Ricketts essay (photocopy, 2001), 1st printing, 1899
6 Art works (photocopies) of Ricketts and Shannon, circa 1896-1930
7 Bookjackets (Ricketts designs), undated
Box Folder
4 1 Vale Press ephemera, circa 1896-1899
General note
The list of books to be published by Messrs. Hacon & Ricketts at The Sign of the Dial…circa 1898 (2 copies)
General note
A List of Books Issued by Messrs. Halcon & Ricketts at the Sign of the Dial…, 1898
General note
The First Exhibition of Original Engraving. The Dutch Gallery, 1898
General note
A List of Books Issued by Messrs. Hacon & Ricketts, The Vale Press, 1899
General note
The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, 1899
2 Vale Press ephemera, circa 1900-1903
General note
Famous Woodcuts Illustrations of the Fifteenth and Early Sixteenth Centuries, circa 1900
General note
The Woodcut Illustrations of Millais, circa 1900
General note
"Notice, in offering the following books…," circa 1900
General note
A List of Vale Press Books Issued by Hacon & Ricketts…"The Printing numbers given include all French and American editions, all presentation copies, and all copied destroyed in the fire of December 1899," circa 1900
General note
Special Notice "The ‘Avon’ fount of small pica type, upon which Mr. Ricketts has long been engaged…," circa 1900
General note
"Orders for bindings in pigskin and morocco can now be…," circa 1900
General note
"The following two books will be issued during the autumn of 1900… Poems of Alfred Lloyd Tennyson," circa 1900
General note
Special Notice."Arrangements have now been made for the completion of the Vale Shakespeare before the end of June 1903, when the firm of Hacon & Ricketts will cease publishing, and the Avon and Vale founts will be destroyed," January, 1903
General note
"Final list of books to be issued…," circa 1903
General note
Bibliography of the Vale Press, Vale type in red, circa 1904
3 Vale Press prospectuses, circa 1896-1903
4 Items printed by the Vale Press, 1899, 1904
General note
"Messrs. Hacon & Ricketts beg to announce that on September 7th, 1899, they are moving…," circa 1899
General note
"…having no retail business, cannot supply orders from “those with whom they have no accounts…," circa 1899
General note
"Messrs. Hacon & Rickett’s TRADE TERMS in future will be 20 percent…," circa 1899
General note
Invitation, folded, "Mr. E. J. Van Wisselingh requests the pleasure…private view of an exhibition of drawings, pastels, lithographs and woodcuts by Charles Shannon," circa 1899
General note
"Photographs of early type designs…," Woolley, September, 1904
General note
Proof of Hacon & Ricketts mailing label, with penciled instructions for change, possibly by C. J. Holmes, 1899
5 Articles on the Vale Press and English book illustration, 1900, 1903
6 Listing of Vale Press publications, 1896-1903
7 Charles Ricketts theatrical sketches (photocopies), 1906-1922
8 Theater programs, designs, 1889-1938
9 Theater programs, designs, 1950-1985, undated
Box Folder
5 1 Johns Masefield's "Mystery Play, " The Coming of Christ in Graphic: The National Weekly (photocopy), May 26, 1928
2 Articles, reviews and catalogs, 1891-1935
3 Articles, reviews and catalogs, 1940-2001
4 Catalogs (photocopies) of Ricketts and Shannon exhibitions, 1909, 1933, 1963
5 Articles and catalogs on Shannon’s lithographs, 1897,1920, 1938
6 Works by others (reproductions), 1821-1950, undated

Series VI: Paintings and Drawings, framed and oversized, 1890-1925

Charles Ricketts, paintings and watercolor, 1901-1925
105 The Good Samaritan, oil sketch on panel board, framed, 1901
104 The Samaritan at the Inn Door, oil on canvas, framed, 1901
Nessus and Dejanira, oil on canvas, framed.
Oil on canvas, unsigned, framed, 1901
The Descent from the Cross, oil on canvas, framed, 1905
105 Judith, watercolor on wove paper, framed, 1916
Stage design [for Judith], gouache, framed [1916]
Costume design for the Cecil Lewis operetta Montezuma, watercolor on wove paper, framed, circa 1925
105 [Nude figures] partly stripped from board P4519, oil on board, framed
Pieta, oil on canvas, framed
Charles Shannon, lithographs and woodcuts, 1890 -1920
103 The Porch, woodcut, circa 1890
Coral Divers, woodcut, circa 1890
Autumn, woodcut, circa 1890
The Fantastic Dress, lithograph, 1890
Atalanta, lithograph, 1893
The Sleeping Methymneans, proof in brown, 1893
Biondina, lithograph, 1894
Shell- Gatherers, lithograph, 1894
Linen Bleachers, lithograph, 1894
The Messenger, lithograph, 1894
Sea and Breeze, lithograph, 1894
The Three Sisters, lithograph, 1894
E. J. Van Wissenlingh, lithograph, 1895
The Letter, transfer lithograph, 1895
The Dive, transfer lithograph, 1895
The Toilet, lithograph, 1895
W. L. Hacon, Esq., lithograph, 1896
Alphonse Legros, lithograph, 1896
Max Beerbohm, lithograph, 1896
The Wall Cupboard, transfer lithograph, 1897
An Idyll, color lithograph, 1905
Morning, color lithograph, 1905
Portrait of the Artist, lithograph, 1905
The Promontory , lithograph (a fan), 1907
The Snow-Winter, lithograph (a fan), 1907
Sea Coast, lithograph, 1908
Autumn, lithograph, 1917
The Ebb Tide, lithograph, 1917
The Tidal River, lithograph, 1920
Charles Shannon, paintings and drawings, 1900-1925
103 Reflection, pencil drawing on paper, circa 1900
The Lady in Black (Miss Hilda Moore), oil on canvas, framed, 1918
The Wounded Amazon, sanguine and white chalk on paper, circa 1922
Ernest Law, colored chalks and pencil on paper, framed, 1925
103 Return of the prodigal son, oil on canvas, framed 1887
William Rothenstein, lithographs, 1897
103 Ricketts and Shannon, lithograph, 1897
Charles Shannon, lithograph, 1897

Series VII: Exhibition and Auction Catalogs, 1895-1997, undated

6 Exhibition and auction catalogs, Ricketts and Shannon, 1904-1997, undated
7 Exhibition and auction catalog, Ricketts, Shannon and others, 1895-1970, undated

Series VIII: Card Files, circa 1965 - 2002

8 Card files kept by Dr. Carl Woodring on works, catalogs, books, and other material related to Ricketts and Shannon.

Series IX: Addendum

Box Folder
9 1 Biographical
2 Paintings, drawings, illustrations (slides)
3 Paintings, drawings, illustrations (photos)
Box Folder
1 4 Paintings, drawings, illustrations (photocopies)
Box Folder
9 5 Book covers & bindings
6 Set & costume designs
7 Sculpture
8 Description of works
9 Works by others
Box Folder
9 10 Ricketts
11 Shannon
12 Lawrence Binyon
13 Gordon Bottomley
14 Sturge Moore
15 Carl Woodring
16 Others
Box Folder
10 1 Correspondence & invoices-works by Ricketts
2 Correspondence & invoices-works by Shannon
3 Correspondence & invoices-works by others
4 Invoices-books re: R&S
5 Vale Press ephemera & other books-listings & appraisals