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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


 

HP Lovecraft’s favourite artists

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HP Lovecraft by Virgil Finlay, 1937.

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The Kingdom of Evil by Anthony Angarola (1924).

Anthony Angarola
“There’s something those fellows catch—beyond life—that they’re able to make us catch for a second. Doré had it. Sime has it. Angarola of Chicago has it. And Pickman had it as no man ever had it before or—I hope to heaven—ever will again.” (Pickman’s Model, 1926)

“Sorry to hear that Angarola is dead. He almost illustrated my ‘Outsider’—that is, he read it & told Wright he’d like to illustrate it just after the present illustration had been made & purchased!” (to Richard Ely Morse, 28 July 1932)

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Paradise Lost by Gustave Doré (1866).

Gustave Doré
“I began to have nightmares of the most hideous description, peopled with things which I called ‘night-gaunts’—a compound word of my own coinage. I used to draw them after waking (perhaps the idea of these figures came from an edition de luxe of Paradise Lost with illustrations by Doré, which I discovered one day in the east parlour).” (to Rheinhart Kleiner, 16 November 1916)

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The Thing on the Doorstep by Virgil Finlay (1933).

Virgil Finlay
“I’ve recently come into touch with Finlay, & find him a most unusual & brilliant character. He’s only 22, & a resident of his native city of Rochester, N.Y. He is a poet of no mean attainments as well as an artist—though of course pictorial art is his primary medium. In future years I feel certain that he will become an artist of distinction, so that the WT group will feel very proud of having known him in his youth…. All of Finlay’s WT work is good—especially the designs for your Lost Paradise & Bloch’s Faceless God. Bloch tells me that Wright considers the latter the finest illustration ever drawn for WT, & that the original hangs framed in the office.” (to Catherine L Moore, mid-October 1936)

“I liked the Finlay illustrations to my two tales—indeed, I believe Finlay is the best all-around artist Weird Tales has ever had. His drawing for the Doorstep was really an imaginative masterpiece. Wright has generously presented me with the originals of both Haunter and Doorstep pictures—and they far transcend the mechanical reproductions.” (to James F Morton, March 1937)

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The Nightmare by Henry Fuseli (1791).

Henry Fuseli
“Any magazine-cover hack can splash paint around wildly and call it a nightmare or a Witches’ Sabbath or a portrait of the devil, but only a great painter can make such a thing really scare or ring true. That’s because only a real artist knows the actual anatomy of the terrible or the physiology of fear—the exact sorts of lines and proportions that connect up with latent instincts or hereditary memories of fright, and the proper colour contrasts and lighting effects to stir the dormant sense of strangeness. I don’t have to tell you why a Fuseli really brings a shiver while a cheap ghost-story frontispiece merely makes us laugh.” (Pickman’s Model, 1926)

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Saturn Devouring his Sons by Francisco de Goya (1819).

Francisco de Goya
“Another artist who went even farther than Hogarth in depicting human bestiality is the Spaniard, Goya.” (to William Lumley, 21 December 1931)

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Gin Lane by William Hogarth (1751).

William Hogarth
“This antient and pestilential reticulation of crumbling cottages and decaying doorways was like nothing I had ever beheld save in a dream—it was the 18th century of Goya, not of the Georges; of Hogarth, not of Horace Walpole.” (to Maurice W Moe, 24 November 1923)

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The Great Day of His Wrath by John Martin (1853).

John Martin
“Under Lovemanic guidance I looked up engravings of his work in the N.Y. Public Library, & was enthralled by the darkly thunderous, apocalyptically majestic, & cataclysmically unearthly power of one who, to me, seemed to hold the essence of cosmic mystery… He was, in a sense, a Milton among painters…. Night; great desolate pillared halls; unholy abysses & blasphemous torrents; terraced titan cities in far, half-celestial backgrounds whereon shines the light of no familiar sky of men’s knowing; shrieking mortal hordes borne downward over vast wastes & down cyclopean gulfs where Phlegethon & Archeron flow; these are the dominant impressions one (i.e., myself, at least!) carries away from the study of a set of Martin engravings.” (to Vincent Starrett, 10 January 1928)

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Kanchenjunga by Nicholas Roerich (1936).

Nicholas Roerich
“Merritt has a wide acquaintance among mystical enthusiasts, and is a close friend of old Nicholas Roerich, the Russian painter whose weird Thibetan landscapes I have so long admired.” (to Robert H Barlow, 13 January 1934)

“Better than the surrealists, though, is good old Nick Roerich, whose joint at Riverside Drive and 103rd Street is one of my shrines in the pest zone. There is something in his handling of perspective and atmosphere which to me suggests other dimensions and alien orders of being—or at least, the gateways leading to such. Those fantastic carven stones in lonely upland deserts—those ominous, almost sentient, lines of jagged pinnacles—and above all, those curious cubical edifices clinging to precipitous slopes and edging upward to forbidden needle-like peaks!” (to James F Morton, March 1937)

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Mung and the Beast of Mung by Sidney Sime (1905).

Sidney Sime
“Yes—Sime does splendid teamwork with Dunsany, seeming to share his bizarre & individual vision as few could. He is an old man, largely retired from active work, & Dunsany has to prod him considerably to get the few illustrations he wants.” (to Robert H Barlow, 14 March 1933)

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrators archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Angels 4: Fallen angels
Death from above
The apocalyptic art of Francis Danby

 


 

Posted in {art}, {black and white}, {fantasy}, {horror}, {illustrators}, {lovecraft}.

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8 comments or trackbacks

  1. #1 posted by Wiley

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    It begs me to question what Lovecraft may have thought regarding the likes of Harry Clarke, Felicien Rops, Franz Von Stuck, Mahlon Blaine, and, hell many others. Even better, what ‘mad’ shit (especially in Clarke’s case, real talent will never be widely recognized) they could have woven into picture form if they had ever read from Lovecraft. Suehiro Maruo doesn’t really fit with the mentioned time period, but his intense and surreal manga-style is definitely well-suited for the Weird Tales bunch, even if they’re less blatantly perverse than Maruo’s usual fare. You seem too busy as it is, so this isn’t a suggestion, but I’ve wondered for a while, if you were definitely going to illustrate another of Lovecraft’s story or stories, which one(s) would you be most eager to do?

  2. #2 posted by Nathalie

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    I think he also might have liked those old etchings, made by early travellers in Egypt, of abandonned colossus in the sands and broken temples. The imagery is there, definitively.

  3. #3 posted by John

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    It begs me to question what Lovecraft may have thought regarding the likes of Harry Clarke, Felicien Rops, Franz Von Stuck, Mahlon Blaine, and, hell many others.

    I think it was a question in his day of what was available. Clarke’s first editions were costly items and HPL rarely had any money. Symbolist painters wouldn’t have turned up in many books and when they did they’d probably be poor reproductions. Spare’s work was very obscure at the time, confined to a few rare books and limited edition art magazines like The Golden Hind.

    You seem too busy as it is, so this isn’t a suggestion, but I’ve wondered for a while, if you were definitely going to illustrate another of Lovecraft’s story or stories, which one(s) would you be most eager to do?

    I’ve usually feel I’ve done enough in that area but there were a couple of unrealised ideas, such as a portfolio based on At the Mountains of Madness. One for the future, maybe…

    I think he also might have liked those old etchings, made by early travellers in Egypt, of abandonned colossus in the sands and broken temples. The imagery is there, definitively.

    I’m sure he would have seen some of those, going by the descriptions in Imprisoned with the Pharoahs and The Nameless City. The thing that gets me about these HPL quotes is the way he makes the pictures sound so much like his stories. Nicholas Roerich’s paintings rarely look as interesting as HPL’s descriptions which makes them seem like something from the aforementioned At the Mountains of Madness (I think he mentions Roerich in that story).

  4. #4 posted by Wiley

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    I don’t why I said ‘may’ when I meant to say ‘would’. I simply wish Lovecraft had a wider array of very idiosyncratic artists to match their skills with his similarly bad-ass shenanigans. I gave emphasis to Clarke for this reason especially, there have been plenty of artists who have tried with every passing decade, and the ‘Mysteries and Imagination’ pictures were great enough, but I think its really his drawings for Faust that he composed some wild stuff that no other eccentric could quite touch. A more modern guy who seems to have a pathological fixation of Lovie is John Jude Palencar. There a few other very noteworthy ones, but I just think some chums like the aforementioned, Burroughs, Rimbaud, and so on, can take what dullard pre-destined cardiac arrest patients would consider ‘pulpie’ or ‘sleazy’, and whip up something a thousand times more intriguing, creative, clever, and arresting than the awful, recycled crap that wins Oscars. Its only justified that folks like that ought to have Polanskis, Brunels, or Argentos directing unwanted adaptations of their work rather than Stuart Gordons if you know what I mean, but that’s just my opinion. To be fair to the damn Oscars though, I did hear Pan’s Labyrinth was pretty good.

  5. #5 posted by Eroom Nala

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    I really should have been a proofreader instead of a library technician

    Virgil Finlay entry

    “so that the WT group will fee very proud”

    should be

    “so that the WT group will feel very proud”

    ;-)

  6. #6 posted by John

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    I really should have been a proofreader instead of a library technician

    These quotes were swiped from another site, I just added the pictures and links. There were quite a few errors throughout, that was one I missed.

  7. #8 posted by Annette

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    I just stumbled across this website, but as an amirirer of both Lovecraft and Roerich, my thanks! you are doing a great job and ke; up the good work! (Excuse the spelling as it’s late and my cat is helping me type!)

    blessed be,
    \
    Annette, St. Louis, Mo

 


 

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