Detmold’s insects

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The White-Faced Decticus.

Edward Julius Detmold’s (1883–1957) skill at drawing animals gave him a great advantage when it came to illustrating Kipling’s The Jungle Book and Aesop’s Fables, still among the very best editions of those books. Less well-known are his illustrations for Fabre’s Book of Insects (1921), a guide by naturalist Jean-Henri Fabre. Bud Plant has details about the artist’s unhappy life, while the Internet Archive also has copies of the Aesop and the Kipling.

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The Praying Mantis.

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Italian Locusts.

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Entomologia
Fantastic art from Pan Books

Fantastic art from Pan Books

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Fantastic Art (1973).
Cover: Earth by Arcimboldo.

I’d thought of writing something about this book series even before I started this weblog since there’s very little information to be found about it online. I can’t compete with the serious Penguin-heads—and I’m not much of a dedicated book collector anyway—but I do have a decent collection of the art books that Pan/Ballantine published in the UK throughout the 1970s. These were published simultaneously by Ballantine/Peacock Press in the US and nearly all were edited by David Larkin, with Betty Ballantine overseeing the American editions. Two of the series, the Dalí and Magritte, were among the first art books I owned. Over the years I’ve gradually accumulated almost the full set and I always look for their distinctive white spines in secondhand shops.

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