Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Illustration and Books

While in Dublin last week, I couldn't resist this book of Fairy Tales illustrated beautifully by Harry Clarke. It was only when I moved to Ireland 20 years ago that I realised Clarke was an Irish artist, although I was familiar with his illustrations since childhood and had seen the gorgeous stained glass windows at the Hugh Lane Gallery on previous visits to Dublin. 


Reading the introduction to this book, I found out it was a re-print publication with all new photos of the illustrations as one of the original books was now in the possession of the National Gallery of Ireland. The original book can be viewed in the prints & drawings section of the gallery by appointment only, and I plan to do it!

Another colour plate from the book:


Illustration from its Golden Age (i.e., 19th & early 20th century) has been a life-long interest of mine (and I think most of my sisters too). My favourite illustrator is usually Edmund Dulac and The Poetical Works of Edgar Allan Poe illustrated by Dulac is still one of my prized possessions. Though the image below is not from that book, it gives a sense of Dulac's style. I used to have this picture hanging on my wall when I was growing up.

Speaking of sisters, my sister Yvonne Whelan, recently had an exhibition of her illustrations ("I Saw Wonderland") at Yumart in Toronto. The image  below is Sleeping Beauty.

Aubrey Beardsley was another favourite, though I bemoan the sale of several of his books when I left Canada, including a deluxe copy of Morte d'Arthur. Why oh why?


At least I kept my copy of the Romance of King Arthur illustrated by Arthur Rackham which I had bought on my second visit to New York in 1981. This Rackham illustration was another picture I had on my bedroom wall when I was younger.


Another book which I bemoan selling is The Rime of the Ancient Mariner illustrated by Gustave Doré. But I still remember the fabulous illustrations!