Joseph Noel Paton’s Ancient Mariner


From Patten Wilson to Joseph Noel Paton (1821–1901), a Scottish artist whose illustrations for Coleridge’s poem I much prefer to his generic paintings. Other artists often skimp on the ship details but Paton’s crowded deck scenes are done with such accuracy they must have been based on a real vessel. The book was published in 1893, and the plates would appear to be engravings given the presence of another monogram besides that of the artist. The Internet Archive scans aren’t as bad as the Patten Wilson but Paton’s meticulous draughtsmanship is best seen in the near-complete set of images posted at Golden Age Comic Book Stories. And for anyone familiar with my comic strip adaptation of Lovecraft’s The Haunter of the Dark, the portrait of Enoch Bowen, founder of the Starry Wisdom cult, was based on Paton’s head of the Ancient Mariner in the scene where the sailors are fastening the albatross around the accursed man’s neck.



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