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

Archive for the ‘Walter Crane’ tag


Walter Crane’s Picture Books


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 […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {design}, {fantasy}, {illustrators} | 2 comments »


The Royal Picture Alphabet


Another pictorial alphabet but no architecture this time. “Royal” is used here in the more general sense of “grand” or “first-rate”, and this isn’t the only example of an instruction book for children that calls its alphabet a royal one. John Leighton’s Royal Picture Alphabet is a finer example than others to be found at the […]

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Aubrey Beardsley in The Studio


Aubrey Beardsley in the year 1893 was 21, and on the threshold of being catapulted to fame (and notoriety) via his illustrations for Oscar Wilde’s Salomé. Some of Beardsley’s drawings in the distinctive style he called “Japanesque” had already appeared in The Pall Mall Magazine, and he was hard at work on some 600 illustrations […]

Posted in {art}, {beardsley}, {black and white}, {books}, {gay}, {illustrators}, {magazines}, {photography} | 1 comment »


Joseph Southall’s Bluebeard


The Charles Perrault fairy tale given an Arts and Crafts interpretation by British artist Joseph Southall (1861–1944). This is a slim volume from 1895 with illustrations very much in the manner of Walter Crane’s work for William Morris. As with all such stories from the Victorian era, the grim nature of the tale is buried […]

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Walter Crane’s Household Stories


The ideal follow-up to yesterday’s post would have been David Wheatley’s 1979 film for the BBC’s Omnibus series dramatising the life and works of the Brothers Grimm. This week was the two hundredth anniversary of the publication of the Grimm’s Children’s and Household Tales; I’ve never seen Wheatley’s Grimm film which—for the moment—remains unavailable. There […]

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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 »


Steampunk Revolution


The “S” word again. One of the jobs from earlier this year is now available for purchase from publishers Tachyon and other outlets. Steampunk Revolution is the third in a series of steampunk story collections edited by Ann VanderMeer (Jeff VanderMeer was co-editor on the first two volumes). I designed the previous title, Steampunk Reloaded, […]

Posted in {books}, {design}, {fantasy}, {science fiction}, {typography}, {work} | 5 comments »


Amy Sacker, book designer


Manders: A Tale of Paris (1899) by Elwyn Barron. Amy Sacker (1872–1965) was an American book designer, illustrator and bookplate artist, one of a number of female designers and illustrators whose careers began in the last years of the 19th century. I’ve mentioned before how women struggled at this time for acceptance in the male-dominated […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {design}, {illustrators} | 3 comments »


Troutsdale Press bookplates


Amy M Sacker. The work of four bookplate artists printed by the Troutsdale Press, Boston, in 1903 and 1904 is contained in these small volumes at the Internet Archive. None of the artists featured are names I’d come across before. Amy M Sacker’s work is of note for being that of a woman given equal […]

Posted in {art}, {black and white}, {books} | 2 comments »


Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration #7


Continuing the delve into back numbers of Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration, the German periodical of art and decoration. Volume 7 covers the period from October 1900 to March 1901 and features a set of ornamental capitals throughout this edition designed by Karl Lürtzing, part of a presentation of typefaces in the Art Nouveau style. The […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art nouveau}, {art}, {design}, {magazines}, {painting}, {sculpture}, {symbolists}, {typography} | 9 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 »


Mayuri lute


Mayuri means “peacock” and although this splendid instrument doesn’t look like a European lute, a lute it is, albeit styled for Indian court performances. Via Wunderkammer. Popular at nineteenth-century Indian courts, this bowed lute borrows features of other Indian stringed instruments, such as the body shape of the sarangi and the frets and neck of […]

Posted in {art nouveau}, {design}, {illustrators}, {magazines}, {music} | 4 comments »


Jugend, 1898


Continuing the delve into back issues of Jugend magazine, the German fin de siècle periodical of “art and life”, this post covers the year 1898. As before, Jugend was so copiously illustrated that the selection here can only scratch the surface. Anyone wanting to see more of these graphics is advised to explore the bound […]

Posted in {art nouveau}, {art}, {black and white}, {design}, {illustrators}, {magazines}, {symbolists} | 2 comments »


Fillmore sealife


Country Joe & the Fish by Wilfred Weisser (1968). A pair of sea-themed psychedelic posters from a small collection here. Most of the examples are familiar faces but these two stood out for me, especially the octopus one by Wilfred Weisser which I hadn’t seen before. The figures in Bob Fried‘s poster below look like […]

Posted in {design}, {music}, {psychedelia} | 1 comment »


The art of Pamela Colman Smith, 1878–1951


Following yesterday’s post about Frieda Harris’s Tarot designs, it only seems right to acknowledge the other major Tarot artist of the 20th century. Pamela Colman Smith has been overshadowed by her male mentor, Golden Dawn scholar AE Waite, even more than Frieda Harris whose name at least gets mentioned as much as Crowley’s in discussion […]

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


William Blake in Manchester


Europe: A Prophecy by William Blake (1794). Two exhibitions based around the work of William Blake open today at Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery, Mind-Forg’d Manacles, “organised to coincide with the 250th anniversary of Blake’s birth as well as the 200th anniversary of the Parliamentary abolition of the transatlantic slave trade” and Blake’s Shadow: William Blake […]

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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 Grammar of Ornament by Owen Jones


Owen Jones’ landmark study of the world’s decorative history was published in 1856. I have a facsimile edition from the 1980s and it’s a beautiful volume even besides its value as a reference work. Now illuminated-books.com has made high-res scans of the pages available for free. They do the same for a number of other […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {design} | 1 comment »







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