Cardwell Higgins versus Harry Clarke


A Delightful Page in the Record of My Existence.

This picture popped up at Chateau Thombeau a few days ago and it’s also been circulating in Tumblr’s recursive labyrinth. The very obvious debt to Harry Clarke’s black-and-white style caught my attention, especially to the artist’s Poe illustrations with the reclining woman being a blatant swipe from one of the Pit and the Pendulum drawings.


The Pit and the Pendulum (1919) by Harry Clarke.

Searching around revealed that the artist responsible, Cardwell Higgins, produced a small series of similar pieces in the late 1920s. He then settled into a career as an illustrator for American magazines and advertising, working in a far more commercial style which isn’t really the kind of thing I get very excited over. Six drawings from the black-and-white series were published as a lthograph set in 1979. Some of the originals came up for sale recently which accounts for the surfacing of these copies.


Persian Orientalist Showgirl.

The Grapefruit Moon Gallery has this piece listed as being a 1927 design for Paramount Pictures. They also have a page about the artist’s later career here and other work, including details of the Siamese Dancers (below) here.


Persian Orientalist Showgirl (detail).


Siamese Dancers.


The Elements Involved.


The Circle of Life.

The Circle of Life / The Perfect Man and Perfect Woman, seeking one another in unison / For the creation of the Perfect Child; / With the Protecting Hand of the Father and the Supporting Hand of the Mother, / The embodiment of Father, Mother and Child is the total life. / The Sun, the supplier of the life-giving elements necessary for survival. / The Hourglass of Time. / The Evil influence that comes into their lives; / The slowly burning candle of Life, And the inevitable—Death! / By Cardwell S. Higgins


An ad for the lithograph set.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrators archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Modern book illustrators, 1914
Illustrating Poe #3: Harry Clarke
Strangest Genius: The Stained Glass of Harry Clarke
Harry Clarke’s stained glass
Harry Clarke’s The Year’s at the Spring
The art of Harry Clarke, 1889–1931

6 thoughts on “Cardwell Higgins versus Harry Clarke”

  1. I love the whole series. Was looking for larger images to post, but could only find the Grapefruit Moon ones. Of course it all made me think of you; glad you saw it!

  2. Thom: ‘A Delightful Page…’ is simply another lift from the Harry Clarke Poe volume. ‘It was a fearful page in the record of my existence’ is the title for his rather lovely illustration for ‘Berenice’. Happy Yuletide!

  3. Thom: These were a great find. That first piece looks like it could have been an ad for something. Or maybe it was an ad proposal in his portfolio? Clarke’s Poe book was one of his more successful works so the allusion to the artist’s style may have been as deliberate as earlier ads which borrowed from Aubrey Beardsley.

    Dave: Happy Yuletide to you!

  4. I have all 6 prints given to me by Mrs. Higgings when Cardwell passed away in Florida in 1980. 4 are signed and numbered. One is an artist proof.Where can i find more information on the value?

  5. Hi Steven. You’d have to ask an art dealer but I’ve no idea who would be most suitable, there are a great many to choose from. The Grapefruit Moon Gallery linked above might be one place to start, they at least know the artist’s work.

Comments are closed.

Discover more from { feuilleton }

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading