Charles Ricketts

British , 1866 - 1931

Charles de Sousy Ricketts was born in 1866. Orphaned early, his grandfather entered him in training as a wood engraver at the City and Guilds Technical Art School in Lambeth. While studying at Lambeth, Ricketts met Charles Shannon and for the remainder of their lives, the two were inseparable. In London, they opened The Vale Press, producing exquisitely designed pages and bindings for limited editions of many popular English classics. Ricketts worked in a wide range of subjects and media and was quite knowledgeable of Japanese prints, which during the time, were still an arcane specialty.

Ricketts provided sets and costumes for Oscar Wilde’s “Salome” and Designs for Cecil Lewis’ “Montezuma”. His work for the theater remains his best-known contribution, as he shares the credit for the rebirth of the Savoy operas in the 1920s. His designs for the theater are credited for breathing new life into the operas that he outfitted.

During his last years, he served as a London-based consultant to the National Gallery of Canada. In 1928 he was elected to full membership in the Royal Academy.

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