William Strang’s Sindbad the Sailor


Another collaboration between William Strang and JB Clark, Sindbad the Sailor, and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves was published in 1895. The Sindbad text is from Edward William Lane’s popular (and bowdlerised) translation of the Thousand and One Nights; Ali Baba is from the translation by Rev. Jonathan Scott. The illustrations follow the same bold style as the Baron Munchausen book but with more detail and decoration. The compositions are also more careful which makes me wonder if the Munchausen book was a product of haste. As before, the book as a whole contains many more illustrations. The copies here have been slightly cropped and lightened to compensate for another poor scanning job by Google.




Continue reading “William Strang’s Sindbad the Sailor”

Maxfield Parrish’s Arabian Nights


Despite spending years tracking down the work of various illustrators I’ve never been as familiar with the major works of Maxfield Parrish as I might. I’ve seen a couple of the plates from this 1909 edition before but the majority are new discoveries. They’re as lucious as you’d expect from Parrish, and for once the paper and inks haven’t been spoiled by age. See all the pages or download the entire book here.



Continue reading “Maxfield Parrish’s Arabian Nights”

Thomas Mackenzie’s Aladdin


The tip for this one came via Beautiful Century. Thomas Mackenzie (1887–1944) was a minor British illustrator whose work I hadn’t seen before, and if I’d seen the picture above uncredited I might have taken it for something by Kay Nielsen or Edmund Dulac. Mackenzie’s colour plates for the 1919 edition of Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp in Rhyme by Arthur Ransome are very similar to his more famous contemporaries, while the black-and-white pieces owe a considerable debt to Aubrey Beardsley, especially the title page below. Not all the drawing is as assured as one might hope but the book as a whole is still worth a look.


Continue reading “Thomas Mackenzie’s Aladdin”

The Thief of Bagdad


It’s the poster for the 1924 film version we’re concerning ourselves with here, not the more popular 1940 adaptation directed by Michael Powell. Both films are great but I have a special affection for Raoul Walsh’s silent version and this poster design has long been a favourite for the way it manages to condense the film’s blend of storybook graphics and Art Deco exotica. I’d wondered for years who was responsible for this design; according to various poster sites it’s the work of the film’s art director Anton Grot (1884–1974). This is one of several variations (there another here and one here) and there’s also a less interesting design which is far more typical of the period.

I often recommend the 1924 Thief of Bagdad as an introduction to silent cinema, especially if you can find a decent print. Fairbanks’ production had William Cameron Menzies as production designer and his sets are enormous Arabian Nights confections replete with minarets, onion domes and filigree screens like something from an Edmund Dulac illustration. Fairbanks gives a tremendously athletic performance and the marvellous Anna May Wong plays a Mongolian slave girl. There’s a lengthy description of the film’s production here while you can find a copy of the entire film at the Internet Archive although it really ought to be seen in a version which isn’t blighted by a company logo throughout.

Previously on { feuilleton }
More Arabian Nights
Edward William Lane’s Arabian Nights Entertainments
Alla Nazimova’s Salomé
Metropolis posters

More Arabian Nights


Louis Rhead (1916).

Continuing from the weekend’s book discovery, a browse at the Internet Archive reveals many scanned editions of the Arabian Nights. No surprise given the enduring popularity of the stories, and no surprise either that the texts are of variable quality, most of them diluted from the earthy and inventive originals to the status of the mildest fairy tales. The exotic settings make for some fine illustrations, however, a selection of which follow. Edmund Dulac’s edition of Sindbad the Sailor is a typically masterful adaptation by one of the great illustrators.


HJ Ford (1898).


Walter Paget (1907?).


The Brothers Dalziel (1865).


Edmund Dulac (1914).

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrators archive
The etching and engraving archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Edward William Lane’s Arabian Nights Entertainments