An epic yet intimate portrait of two theatrical dynasties, which takes us from the Victorian stage to the modern age. Ellen Terry was a natural actress who filled the theatre with a magical radiance. The Times called her the “uncrowned queen of England,” but behind her public success lay a darker story. The child bride of G.F. Watts, she eloped with a friend of Oscar Wilde’s at the age of twenty-one and gave birth to two illegitimate children. But her greatest partnership was on stage with Henry Irving. At the Lyceum Theatre in London, the two of them created a grand Cathedral of the Arts. Their intimately involved lives exceeded in plot the Shakespearean dramas they performed on stage — and indeed were curiously affected by them. They also influenced the life and work of their remarkable children, Ellen’s children in particular. Edy Craig founded a feminist theatre group, The Pioneer Players. Her brother, Edward Gordon Craig, the revolutionary stage designer who collaborated with Stanislavski is revealed by this book to be the forgotten man of modernism. He had thirteen children by eight women. He is, perhaps, the most extraordinary man Michael Holroyd has ever written about.From the Hardcover edition.