George Lionel Seymour, Viscount Carlow, born in 1907, was the only son of the 6th Earl of Portarlington. The family had a house in London as well as Emo Court in Ireland, but used to come to Ireland twice every year for an extended visit. It was decided to close up Emo Court in 1914, at the start of World War I, and the house was subsequently sold in 1920, so the Viscount never lived there after his childhood. In the 1920s he wrote his short but informative and amusing diary about his memories of visiting Emo Court when he was a child, probably aged about six or seven.


Viscount Carlow was a gifted and versatile man who was interested in sailing, foreign travel, book collecting and printing. He spoke nine languages, and was a RAF pilot at the start of World War II, moving later into the Intelligence section. Having been on many diplomatic missions in Europe and South America, he was killed in 1944 while on his way to Yugoslavia. His father, the 6th Earl, died in 1959; the 7th Earl is the 6th Earl’s grandson, Viscount Carlow’s son, who was born in 1938.


In 1936 Viscount Carlow founded the Corvinus Press in London, with the intention of producing books “beautiful beyond all those yet produced”. Not a large number of books were printed - only 58, and only five in editions of more than 100 copies. Some of these were magnificently bound in richly coloured morocco leather with elegant decoration.

T E Lawrence was a close friend – Carlow was at his deathbed in 1935 – and so it was possible for the Corvinus Press to produce an especially beautiful edition of Lawrence’s Two Arabic Folk Tales in 1939. There was also an edition of James Joyce’s Storiella as She is Syung, and a copy of Walter de la Mare’s Poems. Other authors include Edmund Blunden, Wyndham Lewis and Stefan Zweig.


Many of the books from the Corvinus Press were produced in the typeface known as Corvinus Light. To see what this looked like, go to Google Books, and put in ‘Corvinus Light’ (copyright page).