The art of Robert Lawson, 1892–1957


Sargasso Sea (no date).

Did I say Sargasso Sea? Blame William Hope Hodgson some of whose sea stories I was re-reading over the weekend. An idle search for Sargasso images turned up this tremendous etching by American author and illustrator Robert Lawson, part of a collection of equally fine work at the Florida State University. There’s little information about this picture, unfortunately, it’s a numbered print so it’s most likely a one-off piece but it would make an ideal cover illustration for a Hodgson collection. It hadn’t occurred to me before but the rambling third film in the Pirates of the Caribbean series might have been improved if they’d made use of the old Sargasso-as-oceanic-graveyard legend, it’s just the place you’d expect to find Davy Jones and his piscine crew.

Bud Plant has more about Robert Lawson’s career and examples of his book illustrations.


Untitled (CityShip) – Manhattan (no date).

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The etching and engraving archive
The illustrators archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Coming soon: Sea Monsters and Cannibals!
Druillet meets Hodgson
Davy Jones

8 thoughts on “The art of Robert Lawson, 1892–1957”

  1. Yes, I’ve read the book. I didn’t enjoy it as much as some of his other works, especially The Anubis Gates which is a real favourite. It promised much with Black Beard and voodoo and the Fountain of Youth and so on then didn’t really deliver. I’ll be interested seeing how they work it into a film even though it’ll get mangled a lot to fit with Jack Sparrow’s world.

  2. ‘In the UK The Anubis Gates appeared in hardcover in April 1985. Published by Chatto & Windus
    Chatto released a trade paperback simultaneously which featured the same cover art and carried the ISBN 0-7011-2930-1, priced £3.95. This edition is also now quite hard to find in a collectable condition. Jacket design was by Don Macpherson. ‘

    Now you know who to blame but look how much it’s worth

    $250.00 US

  3. No, I’m afraid I’m not very keen on Mr Macpherson’s style. Doesn’t help that Chatto’s approach to graphic design was rather crude as well.

  4. The Lawson stuff is just gorgeous — food for the imagination. The reason this blog is indispensable. Thanks.

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