Albert Goodwin’s fantasies


Viriconium (Millennium/Gollancz, 2000). Painting: The Gates of the Inferno (no date).

The web continues to be an incomparable treat for anyone interested in art history. One of the great advantages of the BBC’s Your Paintings site is having the opportunity to see pictures by artists whose output would rarely be deemed important enough to appear in a book. Albert Goodwin (1845–1932) is one such artist, a painter of landscapes and seascapes with a sideline in fantastic scenes, some of which may have been inspired by the apocalyptic canvases of John Martin. The cover of the Viriconium anthology was my first sighting of anything by Goodwin. That particular painting appears to be in private hands so to date this is the only copy I’ve seen. The combination of minatory architecture and a nebulous atmosphere is just the kind of thing I enjoy so it’s disappointing to not find him producing anything similar.

The paintings below show some of Goodwin’s other forays into the fantastic, mostly illustration of one sort or another. The two final pictures wouldn’t be out-of-place on a collection of William Hope Hodgson sea stories; the devastated Armada isn’t fantastical per se but it reminds me of Hodgson’s descriptions of the Sargasso Sea.


Apocalypse (1903).


Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1901).


Sinbad Entering the Cavern (1879).


Sinbad in the Valley of Diamonds (1878).


The Castle of Enchantments (no date).


The Invincible Armada (1904).


The Phantom Ship (no date).

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The fantastic art archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
The art of Thomas Cole, 1801–1848
Tentacles #2: The Lost Continent
Tentacles #1: The Boats of the ‘Glen Carrig’
Covering Viriconium
John Martin: Heaven & Hell
The apocalyptic art of Francis Danby

2 thoughts on “Albert Goodwin’s fantasies”

  1. This isn’t ‘directly’ related to your recent posts per se, yet several have reminded me of this in one way or another. This post being so on account of its theme of menacing, primal landscapes. Have you seen ‘Valhalla Rising’ with Mads Mikkelsen? I hadn’t heard of until I’d stumbled upon it via a friend’s Netflix browser. Its actually somewhat new but its not the kind of film I would typically associate with the past ten years. Very much a slow-burn, told rather allegorically with relatively few words, and with a ravishingly ominous ambient soundtrack. Not as good as some of the movies you’ve mentioned on this blog, but definitely worth a watch. Half of the shots honestly remind me of Martin paintings.

  2. Oh yeah, I’ve known about this one since it came out but still haven’t seen it. A review caught my attention describing it as an art film about Vikings which sounded a bit unusual. Then someone whose opinion I respect said they’d seen it and didn’t think much of it so I didn’t follow it up. However, director Nikolas Winding Refn made Drive next–which I do like–followed by Only God Forgives–which I’ll be watching at the weekend. I think he mentioned Jodorowsky as being an influence on the latter so that makes me think even better of him.

    All of which is a long-winded way of saying I ought to backtrack now to the Viking one….

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