William Heath Robinson’s illustrated Poe

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Another gem from the Internet Archive collection of scans from North American libraries. This edition of the poems of Edgar Allan Poe from 1900 was illustrated by William Heath Robinson (1872–1944), an artist whose later cartoons of quirky inventions have completely overshadowed his earlier books and the work of his equally talented older brother, Charles. I’m probably in the minority in preferring his book illustration to his cartoons and this edition of Poe is a superb example of his mastery of line and space. It can’t compete with Harry Clarke’s Poe, of course, but then no one can compete with that. WHR wasn’t really suited to the darker side of literature but he acquits himself here far better than Arthur Rackham did when he attempted his own Poe collection in 1935.

Bud Plant’s W Heath Robinson page
W Heath Robinson’s fairy tale illustrations

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The Conqueror Worm.

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Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrators archive

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 most of the set, and I always look for their distinctive white spines in secondhand shops.

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