Harry Clarke online

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The Devil’s Wife and her Eldest. A frontispiece for The Golden Hind, July, 1924, a magazine edited by Clifford Bax and Austin Osman Spare. I’ve seen this drawing referred to in print as “Goddem with Attendants” although this isn’t how it was titled in the magazine.

It’s taken some time but with a little careful searching it’s now possible to see (almost) all of Harry Clarke’s major works of illustration online. The Poe illustrations have been available in a variety of different scans for many years, their popularity being followed by some of the Faust drawings. But Clarke’s other books are more elusive, so what you have here is links to the most complete collections of illustrations from each title, several of which also include the accompanying text.

This isn’t all of Clarke’s illustration work, of course. He produced many single pieces for magazines, as well as two rare promotional publications for the Irish whiskey distiller, Jameson. If he hadn’t been so tied up with the stained-glass business he inherited there would have been much more. The biographical books mention titles he suggested to publishers as potential projects, a list which includes Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Huysmans’ À rebours, and—most tantalising of all—Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen, 1916.

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A post at Flickr. Despite Clarke’s achievements as a stained-glass artist his colour illustrations aren’t always as successful as those in black-and-white. That’s certainly the case here.

Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe, 1919.

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The 1923 edition is at the Internet Archive, a reprint which added several new colour pieces, none of which fare well in this scan. The book is also missing the frontispiece.

The Year’s at the Spring, edited by Lettice D’Oyly Walters, 1920.

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Another complete edition at the Internet Archive.

The Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault, 1922.

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An almost-complete edition. This one again suffers from a missing frontispiece.

Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1925.

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Not great reproductions since this edition is adapted from an e-book, but it does feature all of the black-and-white Faust illustrations in order, and with their accompanying quotes. No colour plates, however.

Selected Poems of Algernon Charles Swinburne, 1928.

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Clarke’s most Decadent and erotic work, this one has yet to turn up in complete form but the defunct art blog, Golden Age Comic Book Stories, posted all of the art here.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrators archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Harry Clarke record covers
Thomas Bodkin on Harry Clarke
Harry Clarke: His Graphic Art
Harry Clarke and others in The Studio
Harry Clarke’s Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault
Harry Clarke in colour
The Tinderbox
Harry Clarke and the Elixir of Life
Cardwell Higgins versus Harry Clarke
Modern book illustrators, 1914
Illustrating Poe #3: Harry Clarke
Strangest Genius: The Stained Glass of Harry Clarke
Harry Clarke’s stained glass
Harry Clarke’s The Year’s at the Spring
The art of Harry Clarke, 1889–1931

Harry Clarke record covers

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Hector Berlioz: Highlights From La Damnation De Faust (1960); Paris Opera Orchestra And Chorus, André Cluytens.  Artwork: “I wish you had something else to do than torment me when I’m quiet” from Faust (1925).

Continuing an occasional series about artists or designers whose work has appeared on record sleeves. Harry Clarke would have been added to this list some time ago but it’s taken a while for Discogs to fill in the gaps ignored by its dominant core of techno-techno-techno obsessives. Clarke’s work is also much more visible today, as a result of which many of the releases here are very recent. The viral nature of internet popularity is a great thing for artists whose work can be shared and appreciated instantly. The drawback is demonstrated by the following albums, many of which recycle the same few drawings from Clarke’s Poe and Faust volumes. I’m sure the musicians who relish Clarke’s work for its grotesque or decadent qualities would find something equally appealing in his Swinburne illustrations if they sought them out. As before, this is probably an incomplete list so if anyone knows of other suitable candidates then please leave a comment.

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Tales of Terror (1971) read by Nelson Olmsted. Artwork: The Man of the Crowd from Tales of Mystery and Imagination (second edition, 1923).

A double album of readings from horror stories. I used to own this one, mainly for the cover since I don’t recall playing it very much. The gatefold interior features Clarke’s painting for The Fall of the House of Usher together with a note from beyond the grave by HP Lovecraft.

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Hector Berlioz / Claude Debussy: La Damnation De Faust / La Damoiselle Elue (1988); Suzanne Danco, David Poleri, Martial Singher, Donald Gramm, Victoria De Los Angeles, Charles Munch, Boston Symphony Orchestra. Artwork: “Forward! Forward!—Faster! Faster!” from Faust (1925).

The classical labels are at least justified in their use of the Faust illustrations. This cropped painting is one of two pieces depicting Faust and Mephistopheles on horseback that suggest Clarke’s parallel career as a stained-glass artist.

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New Dark Age (1998) by Solstice. Artwork: collage of drawings from Faust (1925).

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Mythical & Magical (2008) by Pagan Altar. Artwork: collage of drawings from Faust (1925).

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Gustave Doré’s Contes Drolatiques

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I mentioned Gustave Doré in the Émile Bayard post last week so here’s something from the man himself. I’ve known a couple of the pictures in this 614-page volume for a long time but it’s taken me until this week to look through them all. Doré began his career as a creator of humorous illustrations, and his early illustrated books were at the lighter end of the scale. His flair for the comic and the grotesque are combined in this 1855 edition of Balzac’s stories with a total of 425 drawings, some of which feature the artist’s taste for violent death. As always with Doré, his drawings were filled and embellished by a team of engravers but this is still a remarkable amount of work. What you see here is a necessarily small selection of the full-page pictures; the entire book may be browsed at the Internet Archive.

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Walter Crane’s Picture Books

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Beauty and the Beast.

British artist and designer Walter Crane never illustrated a Perrault collection but he did illustrate individual editions of Perrault’s more well-known tales. These illustrations are from collections published in 1911 of the small books of nursery rhymes, alphabets and stories for children that Crane produced in the 1870s. The clear-line drawings are unusual for their avoidance of the decor one usually sees with these stories; Crane admired the work of the Pre-Raphaelites but the settings are a lot less medieval than some of his other books, the architecture and costumes owing more to the Empire style.

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The Frog Prince.

Crane wrote several design books, including a very good one about the history of book design. His drawings for children may be simple but they’re all very precise and often contain significant details; many of the larger compositions draw the eye into the background with views through doors or windows, or into remote vistas. Crane also adapted each story into verse, and even manages to represent an act of metamorphosis in a single picture for the moment when the Frog Prince turns human. Elsewhere some of the pages are almost comic-like in their arrangement of multiple panels and text.

The samples here are taken from three different collections:

Beauty and the Beast / The Frog Prince / The Hind in the Wood
Cinderella / Puss in Boots / Valentine and Orson
The Sleeping Beauty / The Baby’s Own Alphabet / Bluebeard

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The Hind in the Wood.

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Gustave Doré’s Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault

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La Belle au bois dormant (The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood).

More illustrated Perrault. Gustave Doré’s intention to produce definitive illustrations for his editions certainly paid off when he turned his attention to the French fairy tales. Doré’s work may lack the light touch required for some of these stories but a couple of the engravings—Red Riding Hood in bed with the wolf, Puss-in-Boots—are reproduced endlessly whenever picture editors need a suitable illustration. Doré’s characters can be rather wooden at times but the expressions on the face of the wolf and the girl are perfect.

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Le Petit Chaperon rouge (Little Red Riding Hood).

Elsewhere Doré contributes some original details: the court in Sleeping Beauty is usually shown besieged by thorns or bracken but Doré has giant fungi growing all over the floor; in Little Tom Thumb the children are described as knocking on the door of the ogre’s house then being let inside but Doré shows the ogre’s wife greeting them with a shaft of lamplight. These illustrations were published in several editions throughout the 1860s which makes that lamplight beam a very advanced pictorial effect. Incidentally, for those who read the Amon Düül II cover art post a couple of days ago, the figure of Tom Thumb stealing the ogre’s seven-league boots may be glimpsed outside the spacecraft window in the centrespread of Dance of the Lemmings.

Wikimedia Commons has more of the Doré illustrations; there’s also a set at Gallica although the quality of their scans isn’t always so good.

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La Barbe bleue (Blue Beard).

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