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Yeats Family Collection

A KEY part of the historically and culturally significant Yeats Family Collection has found its way to Killarney thanks to KC Print.

A century-old box landed at the Upper Lissivigeen offices, full to the brim with 30 printing blocks, including The Circus by Jack B Yeats, a metal-plate printing block on wood. The printing blocks cover a wide range of dates from 1919. They originated at a private family-owned business, Cuala Press, which was set up in 1908 by Elizabeth Yeats and her brother, the poet William Butler Yeats.

Established almost a century later, KC Print is another young printing company so the printing blocks could not have found a better home. "It is wonderful to have these items back in Ireland and we are very proud of their retention in their home country," said KC Print founder and managing director Cormac Casey. KC Print's financial controller Patrick Rowe said: "When I first heard about the auction of the Yeats family Collection I had a look through the online catalogue, more out of curiosity than anything else. I eventually came across Lot 200 (the collection of printing blocks from Jack B Yeats and Cuala Press) and we decided that KC Print would be the perfect home. After registering on the Sotheby's site I was able to access live video and audio streaming of their London auction rooms. I had never bid in an auction before and so was slightly unnerved by the knowledge that each mouse-click represented dramatic increments! Fortunately the other bidder dropped out before I reached our upper-limit and the printing blocks were ours." A keen historian, KC Print's creative director Damien Switzer has already been busy curating the treasure trove which includes blocks by other artists as well as Jack B Yeats. Damien said: "Since their arrival I have discovered some of the pieces are blocks from other very accomplished artists, to be revealed soon!" Meanwhile, Killarney will also be welcoming home another part of the collection, as a portrait by John Butler Yeats returns to Muckross House after 145 years. This painting was acquired by the State at the same auction.