Edmund Dulac’s Tempest


This is a copy of The Tempest that I managed to miss when I was looking for illustrated editions a few years ago. When Edmund Dulac is away from his beloved (and mythical) Arabia or Persia his work tends to resemble that of Arthur Rackham, and that’s what you get in this volume from 1915, a series of Rackham-like colour plates with a handful ink vignettes. Dulac shows us Ariel in his harpy form, and as the more familiar fairy being, while Caliban is depicted as a bearded troglodyte. Of note near the end is Prospero’s sword—which has a moon-shaped hilt of a type only seen in modern-day witchcraft or ritual magic—and the plate for “We are such stuff as dreams are made on”, a suitably strange and almost abstract rendering of a dissolving cosmos.




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