The long neglect of the work and influence of the Swiss designer Adolphe Appia has begun to be remedied in recent decades; but as Richard Beacham points out in the following article, Appia's own character was in part responsible for his ‘anonymity’. Where his friend Edward Gordon Craig was a tireless self-promoter, whose work remained influential despite being little utilized by practitioners in his lifetime, Appia tended to withdraw from contact with the wider world, and indeed chose to spend the last years of his life in the seclusion of a sanatorium. Here Beacham traces the twin threads which for long kept Appia's life a sealed book – the problems and delays over the publication of his writings, and the misplaced ‘discretion’ of those controlling the rights concerning Appia's homosexuality, a ‘condition’ which, in the early twentieth century, caused him much distress, and contributed to the long periods of deep depression, lassitude, and debilitation in his life. With the dedicated Appia scholar Walther Volbach, Beacham himself was at last able to edit and publish Adolphe Appia: Essays, Scenarios, and Designs in 1989. He contributed earlier studies of Appia to this journal in the two-part ‘Adolphe Appia, Emile Jaques-Dalcroze, and Hellerau’, in NTQ 2 and 3 (May and August 1985), and ‘“Brothers in Suffering and Joy”: the Appia-Craig Correspondence’, in NTQ 15 (August 1988). Richard Beacham was one of the founders of the Department of Theatre Studies, University of Warwick, and besides his work on Appia has published extensively on ancient theatre practice. He has implemented ways of visualizing the study of theatre history as founding director of the King's Visualization Lab in the Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London, where he served as Professor of Digital Culture.