Edmund Dulac’s Sinbad the Sailor


I mentioned Edmund Dulac’s Sinbad book in an earlier post but didn’t show many his illustrations on that occasion so here they are. Most of these pictures are a long way from Ray Harryhausen’s Sturm und Drang but they’re not without their complement of monsters and afreets.


Sinbad the Sailor & Other Stories from the Arabian Nights was published in 1914. No author is credited, which suggests the text might have been by Dulac himself but it’s more likely to be another retelling of the tales by Laurence Housman with whom Dulac collaborated on similar titles. Sinbad the Sailor is one of Dulac’s best books, a prime example of the ease with which he could combine influences from Persian miniatures, Chinese painting and Japanese prints all done in the watercolour technique employed by contemporaries such as Arthur Rackham.


The plate at the top of this post showing a princess battling an afreet made a striking cover image for the American edition of Fantasy: The Golden Age of Fantastic Illustration (1975) by Brigid Peppin, a study of book illustration from the 1860s to the 1920s. The British edition used a Dulac illustration from The Snow Queen which seems dull in comparison, and an odd choice for a volume filled with so much exceptional art. The book itself is an excellent collection, however, and one I’d recommend to anyone interested in this period of illustration.



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