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

Archive for the ‘Charles Ricketts’ tag


The art of Edmond van Offel, 1871–1959


Edmond van Offel was a Belgian artist who Philippe Jullian features in two of his books about Symbolist art but whose work I’d not seen anywhere else—at least until now. All the pictures here are from a collection published in Paris in 1902 which may be the one Jullian used for his selections. The book […]

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Wildeana 9


Dorian Gray (1968) by Jim Dine; one of a series of prints for an illustrated edition. Rainbows didn’t become a gay symbol until Gilbert Baker’s flag design ten years later. Continuing an occasional series. • “…the Public is a very curious thing; it is sometimes perverse, and even obstinate, and it has evidently made up […]

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Picturing Dorian Gray


It’s taken a while but here at last are some of the pages from my series of illustrations based on The Picture of Dorian Gray, as featured in volume 2 of The Graphic Canon (“The World’s Great Literature as Comics and Visuals”) edited by Russ Kick. I agreed with Russ not to run everything so […]

Posted in {art}, {black and white}, {books}, {comics}, {gay}, {magazines}, {painting}, {work} | 5 comments »


In the Key of Blue by John Addington Symonds


I probably overspent a little on this charity-shop purchase, the third edition (published 1918) of In the Key of Blue by John Addington Symonds (1840–1893), a personal selection of writings first published in 1893. First edition copies sell for over a thousand pounds so this was an opportunity to acquire something close to the original […]

Posted in {art nouveau}, {books}, {design}, {gay} | 4 comments »


Charles Ricketts’ Salomé


Here is my scheme. I proposed a black floor – upon which Salomé’s white feet would show; this statement was meant to capture Wilde. The sky was to be a rich turquoise blue, and across by the perpendicular fall of strips of gilt matting, which should not touch the ground, and so form a sort […]

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L’art dans la décoration extérieure des livres


Back at the fin de siècle with this study by Octave Uzanne of book cover design in the 1890s. L’art dans la décoration extérieure des livres is over four hundred pages of very varied designs, from covers for popular novels to the state of the art by usual suspects Aubrey Beardsley, Charles Ricketts et al. […]

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Echoes of Aubrey


More of Aubrey Beardsley’s posthumous influence and more of the delightful collision between the 1890s and the 1960s. Monsieur Thombeau turned up this striking fashion shoot from LIFE magazine for 1967 showing a model posed against one of the Salomé drawings. A couple of days after this was posted, a reader wrote to point me […]

Posted in {art}, {beardsley}, {black and white}, {design}, {fashion}, {film}, {horror}, {illustrators} | 10 comments »


The Tempest illustrated


“Such stuff as dreams are made on”: Heathcote Williams and Toyah Willcox. DVD viewing earlier this week was Derek Jarman’s wonderful adaptation of The Tempest which he directed in 1979. This is my favourite of Jarman’s films, partly because the play is my favourite Shakespeare (along with its polar opposite, Macbeth) and also because it’s […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {fantasy}, {film}, {illustrators}, {occult} | 14 comments »


Robert Anning Bell’s Tempest


British artist and designer Robert Anning Bell (1863–1933) illustrates Shakespeare in this 1901 edition at the Internet Archive and the work seemed to give him an excuse to embellish many of the pages with writhing mer-folk. His adaptation isn’t as striking as William Heath Robinson’s Midsummer Night’s Dream from 1914 but then few books are. […]

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Penises and caustic soda: the case of the Cambridge antiquities

Penises and caustic soda: the case of the Cambridge antiquities

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Through the Wonderwall


It’s taken me years but the recent obsession with UK psychedelia led me to finally watch Joe Massot’s piece of cinematic fluff from 1968, Wonderwall, a film distinguished primarily for its score by George Harrison (with Ringo Starr and Eric Clapton playing pseudonymously), and its title which was swiped years later by a bunch of […]

Posted in {art}, {fantasy}, {film}, {gay}, {music}, {psychedelia} | 5 comments »


Charles Ricketts’ Hero and Leander


Enthusiasts of Charles Ricketts’ illustrations can find book collections of his drawings and paintings but the artist (with partner Charles Shannon) was also a printer, typographer and book designer who would no doubt have preferred his illustrations to be seen in their intended setting. The Internet Archive has a few choice examples of Rickett’s books, […]

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Art Nouveau illustration


The cover picture of yesterday’s book purchase complements the month, being a woodcut by Leopold Stolba entitled February from a Ver Sacrum calendar for 1903. The book is Art Nouveau: Posters and Designs (1971), a collection edited by Andrew Melvin for the Academy Art Editions series and the book includes some covers for Jugend magazine […]

Posted in {art nouveau}, {art}, {beardsley}, {black and white}, {books}, {design}, {illustrators}, {magazines} | 6 comments »


Dorian Gray revisited


Today’s book purchase was an edition of The Picture of Dorian Gray published in 1945 by the Unicorn Press, London. It’s rather battered and the spine is stained by some unknown brown fluid that may be blood (which would suit a sanguinary tale such as this) but which is most likely something less dramatic. The […]

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The Age of Enchantment: Beardsley, Dulac and their Contemporaries


“Everything about her was white.” Illustration by Edmund Dulac for The Dreamer of Dreams by Queen Marie of Roumania (1915). A major exhibition of British fantasy illustration opens at the Dulwich Picture Gallery this Wednesday, running to February 17th, 2008. Considering the huge resurgence of popularity in fantasy for children I’m surprised none of the […]

Posted in {art}, {beardsley}, {books}, {fantasy}, {illustrators} | 6 comments »


The illustrators archive


Previous posts about illustrators. • Italian villas and their gardens • De Plancy’s Dictionnaire Infernal • Hugo Steiner-Prag’s The Ancestress • John Batten’s Indian Fairy Tales • The art of Erhard Amadeus Dier, 1893–1969 • Hugo Steiner-Prag’s Ghostly Ballads • The art of Alan Odle, 1888–1948 • Harry Clarke and others in The Studio • […]

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