Owen Wood’s Zodiac


Yesterday’s zodiacal illustrations reminded me of this grubby item (depicting the twelve houses of the zodiac and four elements) which I took the trouble to scan since there’s no other example of it on the web. (Click for a larger version.) The artist, Owen Wood, was a highly-regarded illustrator commissioned to produce a poster in 1969 for the landmark magazine Man, Myth & Magic which was serialised weekly in the UK the following year. MMM had a few other giveaways in their early issues but Wood’s poster was by far the best piece. I thought I might have another copy somewhere but it didn’t turn up in a cursory search; if I find it I’ll replace this one. Wood’s very fine and intricate line-drawing deserves better appraisal than this dishevelled item which suffered from being pinned in too many smoke-filled rooms over the years. This obituary of the artist has details of his career.


Fire (detail).

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Previously on { feuilleton }
Palladini’s Zodiac
Austin Osman Spare

10 thoughts on “Owen Wood’s Zodiac”

  1. Yes, the women are all very Mucha-esque, so too is some of the decoration. There’s also some sly sexual humour with the sailor about to grab the mermaid’s breast and the set of distinctly swollen genitals he gave to the Sagittarius centaur.

  2. I have a very nicely preserved copy of this but not the original MMM. Do you know which edition of MMM this Owen Wood piece came with? Also any idea of a valuation this piece would sell for?

    Kind Regards


  3. Hi DD. The poster came with issue 2 of MMM. As to the value, you’d have to ask someone else.

  4. I was lucky enough to be taught graphic illustration by ‘Uncle Owen’ as we called him back in the mid-Eighties at Thurrock Technical College in Grays, Essex. Lovely man and frighteningly talented. He would come into class reeking of vodka, stack the stools up, sit on them and impersonate a trombone while we worked.

  5. Owen was my father so I am delighted to see his work on the net. This is a great example of his painstaking hand. I read with amusement Neil Bakers comment. Textbook dad, only let me assure you it was Gin and not Vodka on his breath.
    Sadly the original was stolen from dad, perhaps if the person who stole it reads this they might return it?

  6. I just wanted to say hello James! Don’t know if you remember me…you stayed the summer here with us in New York and my mother Kathryn studied with your father.

    Amanda Holt

  7. Hello Amanda, of course I remember you, one of my best ever summers. How can I get in touch?

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