The tragic story of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Double page: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
Double page from the version printed by Cranach-Presse: Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, 1929
Deutsches Buch- und Schriftmuseum der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek Leipzig

The tragic story of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

A masterpiece from the Cranach-Presse printing house, 1929

I believe it (the book) will become, as one says, a ‘milestone’ in the history of printing art, and everyone who has worked on producing this monumental work can be congratulated.

From a letter written by Edward Johnston to Harry Graf Kessler

Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Prince of Denmark printed by Cranach-Presse in Weimar is one of this printing house’s most important works and one of the most important hand-pressed prints in German book art. Harry Graf Kessler was responsible for the type and print of the volume, and it was issued by the publishers Insel-Verlag in Leipzig and den S. Fischer Verlag in Berlin. 

The work was released in 1929 in a translation by Gerhart Hauptmann. The upper case title letters designed in woodcut were produced by graphic designer and typographer Eric Gill (1882-1940). The printed text in red and black is in a font that was designed especially for this work, the Hamlet Fraktur, which was developed by font artist Edward Johnston (1872-1944). The woodcuts are based on the designs and figurines for stage sets by the director, actor and graphic designer Edward Gordon Craig (1872-1966), who used them here for the purposes of book art.