Gustave Doré’s Ancient Mariner


A final Coleridge post, also the oldest illustrated edition featured this week. Gustave Doré’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner was first published in 1870, and the poet’s sombre, doom-laden tale was more suited to Doré’s Gothic proclivities than many of the lighter books he illustrated. Despite their age, these engravings have proved memorable enough to keep turning up whenever an illustration of the poem is required. The ship among the icebergs above is close enough to a scene in the third Pirates of the Caribbean film to have maybe been an influence, while the ice-bound section of the poem inspired one of Doré’s few paintings.

Art Passions has a complete set of these engravings together with many more of the artist’s works. And while we’re on the subject, two of Harry Clarke’s surviving Ancient Mariner drawings appeared in a post last year. A third drawing from the series can be seen here.





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

Previously on { feuilleton }
Joseph Noel Paton’s Ancient Mariner
Patten Wilson’s illustrated Coleridge
Gerald Metcalfe’s illustrated Coleridge

4 thoughts on “Gustave Doré’s Ancient Mariner”

  1. This is what I call an illustrator with capital letters. I try and try, but never could emulate his paintings. Those old geniuses probably forgot a lot of their craft before dying, than some of us modern painters will ever know. Classic!

  2. Ah! I was wondering when Doré would turn up in your survey of The Ancient Mariner! ;-)
    Phenomenal work of course, but let’s also pay homage to the various engravers who cut his drawings (which apparently he drew directly onto the plate).

  3. Yes, H. Pisan and (I think) Pannemaker both worked on this book. It’s easy to spot their signatures, some of the other engravers are less easy to identify.

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