Wednesday, August 30, 2017

318. Charles Ricketts and More Adey

Michael Seeney's book More Adey, Oscar Wilde's Forgotten Friend mentions the names of Ricketts and Shannon a few times. The link between these men was Oscar Wilde, or rather, Robert Ross, who acted as Wilde's 'literary executor, and administrator of his estate' (as the 'Note' in the first volume of the collected works in 1908 stated).

Ross and Adey came to Ricketts and Shannon 'to grub' as Ricketts writes in his diary. Ross and Adey often shared an address. Another time, Ricketts, Shannon, and Adey met at a dinner party given by Ross to celebrate Vyvyan Holland's twenty-first birthday. Both of Wilde's sons were present, as were the painter William Richmond, Reginald Turner, William Rothenstein, Coleridge Kennard, Ronald Firbank, and Henry James.  

Seeney compares Ricketts and Shannon's sexual identities with those of Ross and Adey (p. 25), mentions Adey's and Ricketts's beards in comparison to the beard that Ross kept for about a week (p. 45), Adey's black cloak is linked to those of several artists including Ricketts (p. 98), Ricketts's visit to Wilde in prison (a failure), and his and Shannon's subsequent donation towards a fund for Wilde (the large sum of £100) are mentioned, quoting from a letter by Ricketts to Adey (pp. 51-53), Adey's review of stage designs by Ricketts (p. 63) and Ricketts's and Shannon's exhibitions at the Carfax Gallery are mentioned (p. 64, 70). Both Adey and Ricketts published reviews and articles in The Burlington Magazine,  and sometimes Adey found himself in a difficult position between opposing parties, such as those on the post-impressionists (pro: Roger Fry; contra: Ricketts) (p. 83). 
The Beacon, April 1922
Both Adey and Ricketts were asked to collaborate on a new magazine in 1922, The Beacon, edited by E.R. Appleton. Seeney (p. 99) mentions that several friends of Adey contributed to the magazine: 'Selwyn Image, Charles Ricketts and Sturge Moore'.

Image was the only one who actually published an article, a lecture in fact, in The Beacon. It appeared in the March 1924 issue, but it had been written as a speech: 'Church Art. An Address to the Zenith Society'. (The Zenith Society was founded to assist clergy in maintaining the spiritual life of London in 1923 and 1924.)

The Beacon, April 1922
Ricketts can not really be seen as a collaborator to The Beacon. In 1922 he allowed the magazine to reproduce a wood-engraving from The Parables from the Gospels (facing page lvi in the book). It had been published almost twenty years before. Other illustrations by the artists of The Dial in that issue are said to be the work of T. Sturge Moore and Reginald Savage, but the attribution to Savage is incorrect. Both illustrations are by Sturge Moore. These wood-engravings were also done years before - 'Pan Island' dated from 1897, the one called 'Behemoth' was another illustration of Pan, published by Ricketts and Shannon in a portfolio of Sturge Moore's woodcuts in the early 1890s ('Metamorphoses of Pan and other woodcuts').

Allowing a reprint of an old wood engraving was the kind of support that Ricketts often granted initiatives by younger artists and authors.