Illustrating Poe #2: William Heath Robinson


The Raven.

Some of these drawings have been featured here before but they’re always worth seeing again. One of the problems for the early illustrators of Poe was a lack of sympathy among many of them for the author’s doom-laden Romanticism. It’s a shame that Aubrey Beardsley didn’t try illustrating some of the poems, as William Heath Robinson does here, Poe’s verse is significantly lighter in atmosphere than his stories.



This collection is from 1900 and I much prefer this style of Robinson’s to the later comic inventions which made him a household name. The complete book can be found at the Internet Archive. For a very different interpretation of Poe’s poems, Golden Age Comic Book Stories just posted the 1912 Edmund Dulac edition.




A Valentine.


A Valentine.


The City in the Sea.


The Conqueror Worm.




A Dream within a Dream.


The Haunted Palace.




Evening Star.




The Poetic Principle.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrators archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Illustrating Poe #1: Aubrey Beardsley
Poe at 200
William Heath Robinson’s Midsummer Night’s Dream

7 thoughts on “Illustrating Poe #2: William Heath Robinson”

  1. I prefer these b & w illustrations to the colour ones in the Dulac edition.
    Here’s some good Dore Raven illustration

    Off topic.
    With TV shows like Jekyll and Sherlock is there an antonym to Steam Punk where fictional Victorian characters are transposed into modern day settings|?

  2. I had some cards of some of the Dulac/ Poe illustrations when I was about 16 but lost them, and could never remember the name of the artist. I had some idea it was W H Robinson, which is why I was exited to see this post. And then dissapointed. And then exited again when I saw the Dulac ones.

  3. People do look for references, don’t they? We think only we do so, but I recognize a small mountain from the Plutonian Shore up there, David Britton used it, a little bit more larger, in one of his illustrations for The Savoy Book, many years ago. OK. Good to know that modern splendid artists also look upon the works of other ones, who came earlier. (I myself used that mountain in one of my illustrations).

  4. By the way John, I know it has nothing to do with the subject above, but how do I get one of your Haunter of the Dark T-shirts, livinf in Brazil? Is there any retailer hereabout where I coud find it? Or, maybe, through direct payment for the printer who makes them? I’d really like to get my hands on one…

  5. Gabriel: I thought about posting some of the Doré pictures. An odd choice to only do that poem. As to the film & TV characters, I think “update” is the only available term unless you want to be cynical and use “money-saving device” since period drama is always more expensive.

    Márcio: Yes, David Britton had a habit of swiping bits from other artists, something I’ve often chided him about. That drawing in The Savoy Book also steals the cloud from the “Alone” illustration above. The only T-shirts I have on sale are through CafePress. I’m fairly sure they deal worldwide; looking at the recent orders I see a number to countries outside the US and Europe.

  6. As much as I like gore, I ‘love’ it when the idea of something being haunted is portrayed purely through the use of strange beauty, subtlety, and mysterious ambiguity. Much like the way movies like ‘The Ninth Gate’ and ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ were pulled off. I especially like ‘silence’ and ‘dreamland’. Its a shame he didn’t produce as much as say, our beloved Harry Clarke. Thank you for this.

  7. I’ll have a look at CaféPress, thank you. And yes, the clouds are also there, I’ve also recognized them. All the best!

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