Sidney Sime paintings


Painting of Waves.

Most of the art for which Sidney Sime (1867–1941) is remembered is black-and-white or monochrome work, in part because he was engaged as a magazine illustrator at a time prior to widespread colour reproduction. All of the reproductions in Sidney Sime—Master of the Mysterious (1980) by Simon Heneage & Henry Ford are monochrome, so it’s good to find 188 of Sime’s paintings on the BBC’s British paintings website. Or it’s good up to a point… Most of the works are small oil sketches and landscape studies which would be of little interest if the artist’s name was unfamiliar. The examples here are some of the few which match the unique imagination which people still value today. Heneage & Ford refer to his painting throughout his career but it seems the best of that work must now be in private collections. All of the paintings on the BBC pages are from the collection at the Sidney H. Sime Memorial Gallery at Worplesdon near Guildford, Surrey, where there’s more of his art to be seen.


Woods and Dark Animals.



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Weekend links 164


Ekaterina Panikanova paints on books.

Back in 2009 I bought a book of Art Nouveau illustration and design which contained an intriguing drawing by an Austrian artist, Franz Wacik (1883–1938). At the time there was little of Wacik’s other work online so I was delighted by the latest post at 50 Watts which showcases a selection of his illustrations. Wacik was a contemporary of British illustrator Sidney Sime, and both artists share a predilection for the comic and the grotesque.

• “The outlawing of drugs such as cannabis, MDMA and LSD amounts to the ‘the worst case of scientific censorship since the Catholic Church banned the works of Copernicus and Galileo’, the former Government drugs advisor Professor David Nutt has claimed.” Related: “At last, the edifice of drugs prohibition is starting to crumble,” says Amanda Feilding.

Alan Johnston on “A gay island community created by Italy’s Fascists”, and at Another Nickel In The Machine a report on The Gateways Club, one of the few meeting places for London’s lesbians in the 1960s. Alex Park wonders “Why Is Gay Porn So Popular In Pakistan?”

• If it’s June 16th then it must be Bloomsday: The Irish Times has a page of Joyce-related links to mark the anniversary. This year there’s a global reading of Ulysses taking place.

• “Now we can concentrate on album number nine,” says Kraftwerk’s Ralf Hutter. The rest of us will impatiently count the passing seconds.

• After a week in which George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four has seen an increase in sales, a look at its cover designs old and new.

Aleister Crowley: Wandering the Waste is a 144-page graphic biography of the Great Beast by Martin Hayes and RH Stewart.

Barnbrook Design‘s presentation of Taxidermy, a book by Alexis Turner, is rather splendid.

• FACT Mix 386 is a great collection of dubby grooves compiled by Young Echo.

• From 2001: Michael Wood in the LRB reviewing Apocalypse Now Redux.

• The first recording of Allen Ginsberg reading Howl.

Rejoyce (1967) by Jefferson Airplane | The Sensual World (1989) by Kate Bush | Molly Bloom (2013) by Alan Munde

Weekend links 132


La Hora del Fantasma (no date) by Joaquim Pla Janini.

• Many of the art links featured here are tips from Thom Ayres, so it’s only right to point to his new album project which he’s funding through Kickstarter and embellishing with his own nature photography.

• Anne Billson is another writer beguiled by Philippe Jullian’s masterwork, Dreamers of Decadence. And thanks to Ms Billson for drawing attention to the insane opening of Crime Without Passion (1934).

• Does this fake ad for The Necronomicon use one of my Cthulhu pictures? Possibly. Get the picture for yourself in this year’s Cthulhu calendar. (My thanks to everyone who’s bought a copy so far.)

To break the ice, I talk about books: he is delighted to discover that I have read his beloved Denton Welch, also J. W. Dunne’s An Experiment With Time. I have found them in my old school library, and know both have been a tremendous influence on him in different ways. Knowing of his interest I also mention that I have just read Colin Wilson’s The Quest For Wilhelm Reich, published the year before. He likes Wilson, he says, jokes that “the Colonel” with his cottage in Wales in Wilson’s Return of the Lloigor and his own Colonel Sutton-Smith from The Discipline of DE are one and the same. On something of a roll, I mention Real Magic by Isaac Bonewits, and he acknowledges that it has “some good information” – but is much more enthusiastic about Magic: An Occult Primer by David Conway [years later I would discover that Burroughs & Conway had in fact exchanged letters on various subjects pertaining to magic, occultism, and psychic phenomena – but that is decidedly another story!]

Matthew Levi Stevens recalls The Final Academy and an encounter with William Burroughs thirty years ago.

Locomotif: A short survey of trains, music & experiments: Gautam Pemmaraju on Kraftwerk, Pierre Schaeffer, Luigi Russolo and others.

A flip-through of The Graphic Canon, volume 2. Wait to the end and you’ll see a couple of my Dorian Gray pages. Imprint has a review of the book.

• Julian Bell reviews two new books about Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich.

Alan Moore talks to The Occupied Times about art, education and anarchism.

• Colin Dickey reviews Vilém Flusser’s Vampyroteuthis Infernalis: A Treatise.


Las Parcas II (1930) by Joaquim Pla Janini.

• Michael Newton reviews A Natural History of Ghosts by Roger Clarke.

• Golden Age Comic Book Stories revisits the work of Sidney Sime.

Front Free Endpaper asks “What’s in an inscription…?”

Mormon Missionary Positions

Amateur Aesthete

Ghosts (1981) by Japan | Ghosts (2008) by Ladytron | Ghosts (2012) by Monolake.

Pogány’s Turkish fairy tales


The illustrations are by Willy Pogány, the forty-four fairy tales were collected and translated by Ignácz Kunos. This wasn’t the first edition of Kunos’s book which dates back to 1889, but Pogány’s edition must be one of the most heavily illustrated, with drawings in a variety of styles throughout. The tipped-in plates look like woodcuts which is a style I’ve not seen from Pogány before. Elsewhere there are many comic demons and monsters rather like the kinds of things Sidney Sime used to enjoy inventing. And many Orientalist motifs, of course The Internet Archive copy isn’t dated but other sites give a date of 1913. This copy is also poorly hand-painted in places. Sacred Texts has the illustrations sans daubings.



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Cthulhu under glass


Having had two separate visitors to the British Library’s Out of this World exhibition tell me that some of my work was featured there, it’s been a good to finally discover what was on display. Many thanks to John Keogh for notifying me of his exhibition photo set which includes the above shot of the relevant display case. This is an odd collection for what’s been widely advertised as a science fiction event. Pages from my 1988 adaptation of The Call of Cthulhu are in there along with other fantasy and horror titles including Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, Incarnate by Ramsey Campbell, an edition of Fantasy & Science Fiction with Robert Holdstock’s Mythago Wood on the cover, and a Sidney Sime illustration for Lord Dunsany’s Gods of Pergana. Cthulhu originates out of this world, of course, and that phrase is general enough to encompass other genres.


This page from the climax of Lovecraft’s story was the first drawing I made of the living Cthulhu, all earlier representations following Lovecraft’s scheme of the creature manifesting throughout history in different human artworks and religious icons. Since most of those representations are highly stylised I wanted to make the awful reality seem a lot more visceral and even incoherent, hence the mass of flailing tentacles and ropes of slime. This is also the only full view you receive, everything else is fragmentary and allusive so there’s space for the reader’s imagination. I think the book in the library display is the Lovecraft anthology The Starry Wisdom but The Call of Cthulhu is also present in my Haunter of the Dark collection which includes a couple more portraits of “the green, sticky spawn of the stars”.

Out of this World is a free exhibition which will run to September 25th, 2011.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Signals from Mars
Cubist Cthulhu