Althea Gyles papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

MS 148 consists of holograph drafts of scenes from an untitled play, written on small sheets of lined paper and totalling 482 pages. MSS 150 and 155 are holograph copies of various works. MSS 151-154 and 156-158 are typescripts of Gyles' works, with manuscript corrections. MS 159 consists of various papers concerning Althea Gyles, including three letters sent to her niece Mrs Cazalet 1949-1951, printed copies of Gyles' poems and biographical notes. MS 1163 is a music manuscript of Carol of Goodwill, a poem by Althea Gyles, music by Joseph Holbrooke.

Administrative / Biographical History

Althea Gyles was born in 1868 in Kilmurry, County Waterford. Her father, George Gyles, came from an old and distinguished local family, and her mother, Alithea Emma, was the daughter of Edward Grey, Bishop of Hereford. In 1889 Althea went to Dublin to study art, and by the end of 1892 had moved to London, where she continued her studies and also began to write verse, moving in the literary circles of the period. Her association with W.B. Yeats began in Dublin and continued in London, where Althea became a member of the occultist group the Golden Dawn. She is chiefly remembered now for her book cover designs and illustrations for Yeats' work. In her later years she lived in poverty in London bedsits, befriended by literary figures including Eleanor Farjeon and Compton and Faith Mackenzie. She died in 1949.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to all researchers. No reader's ticket is required but an appointment is necessary. Check for contact details and opening hours.

Acquisition Information

Presented to the Library in 1957 by Althea Gyles' sister Mrs Lane Barrington and her daughter Mrs Joyce Cazalet.


Description prepared by Bridget Andrews with reference to Ian Fletcher, 'Poet and designer: W.B. Yeats and Althea Gyles' in Yeats Studies no. 1, 1971.

Other Finding Aids

Listed at item level.