Jean de Bosschère’s The City Curious


“…it’s a shame there isn’t more of [Jean de Bosschère’s] idiosyncratic work at the Internet Archive,” I wrote in 2012. The reason that Bosschère’s books aren’t immediately to hand is that the Internet Archive has misspelled his name in many of their tags, not the first time that searches there are thwarted by errors or missing data (illustrators often go uncredited).

The City Curious (1920) is one of several books that Bosschère wrote and illustrated, this edition being translated into English by F. Tennyson Jesse. The whimsical story was presumably intended for children but Bosschère’s imagination is a peculiar one, and his figures are often so eccentric they need to be studied closely to pick out faces and limbs from their details and distortion. Eccentricity isn’t unknown in children’s stories but this one is much closer to Surrealism than the Surrealist’s favourite Lewis Carroll books. Many more of these illustrations may be browsed here or downloaded here.



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