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


 

William Heath Robinson’s Rabelais

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Ending the year with some Heath Robinson illustrations I’d not seen before, probably because their grotesque qualities set them apart from the rest of his whimsical drawings and fairy tale illustrations. Illustrated editions of Rabelais are rare owing to the coarse and scatological nature of the novels. Gustave Doré‘s robust and bloodthirsty character made him a good match for the material but it’s a surprise to find a generally light-hearted illustrator like Heath Robinson tackling the same stories.

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Robinson’s illustrations were for a two-volume set published in 1904 (see here and here), and are suitably dark with plenty of solid blacks and heavy cross-hatching. Some of the drawings are so different to the artist’s usual work they could be taken at first glance for pieces by Sidney Sime or Mervyn Peake. More typical are the numerous vignettes that appear at the ends of chapters. The examples here are from Google scans at the Internet Archive but some of the original drawings may be seen in better quality (and purchased if you have the money) at the Chris Beetles gallery.

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Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrators archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
The Talking Thrush and Other Tales of India
Illustrating Poe #2: William Heath Robinson
William Heath Robinson’s Midsummer Night’s Dream

 


 

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

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2 comments or trackbacks

  1. #1 posted by drew

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    Thank you for another year of absorbing and illuminating posts. I wish you many more–both years and posts, that is.

  2. #2 posted by John

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    Thanks, drew, and thanks also for reading.

 




 

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