Weekend links 584


Cover for the 1970 US edition of Moonchild by Aleister Crowley. No artist credited (unless you know better…). Update: The artist is Dugald Stewart Walker, and the drawing is from a 1914 edition of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales. Thanks to Mr TjZ!

• “…a very mid-Seventies cauldron of Cold War technology, ESP, sociology, black magic and white magic, experimental science and standing stones, secret radar and satanic rituals, whirring aerials and wild moors: a seething potion of Wyndham and Wheatley.” Mark Valentine on The Twelve Maidens, a novel by Stewart Farrar.

• “The line in the song ‘feed your head’ is both about reading and psychedelics. I was talking about feeding your head by paying attention: read some books, pay attention.” Grace Slick explains why those three little words have been attached to these pages since 2006.

Freddie deBoer reposted his “Planet of Cops” polemic, a piece I linked to when it first appeared in 2017, and which used to come to mind all the time before I absented myself from the poisonous sump of negativity that we call social media.

• RIP Charlie Watts. The Rolling Stones’ last moment of psychedelic strangeness is Child Of The Moon, a promo film by Michael Lindsay-Hogg featuring an uncredited Eileen Atkins and Sylvia Coleridge.

• Old music: A live performance by John Coltrane and ensemble of A Love Supreme from Seattle in 1965 that’s somehow managed to remain unreleased until now.

• A short film about Suzanne Cianni which sees her creating electronic sounds and music for the Xenon pinball machine in the early 1980s.

• “I’ll be in another world”: A rediscovered interview with Jorge Luis Borges.

Steven Heller explains why Magnat is his font of the month.

Clive Hicks-Jenkins on the allure of toy theatre.

• New music: Vexed by The Bug ft. Moor Mother.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Nikola Tesla Festschrift.

Moon Child (1964) by The Ventures | Moonchild (1969) by King Crimson | Moonchild (1992) by Shakespears Sister

Dugald Stewart Walker’s Rainbow Gold


Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

The illustrations of Dugald Stewart Walker (1883–1937) have been featured here on several occasions but this is a book of his that I’d missed until now. The Internet Archive has a huge trove of illustrated editions but the illustrators aren’t always credited on the website pages so you either have to rely on chance discovery or search for books by their titles.


Rainbow Gold: Poems Old and New Selected for Boys and Girls (1922) is a collection compiled by Sara Teasdale that was illustrated throughout by Walker’s full-page drawings and many smaller vignettes. Not all of the poems are given the full-page treatment so some of the omissions are disappointing. I’d liked to have seen what he could do for Yeats’s The Song of Wandering Aengus, for example.


There’s a Virgil Finlay-like quality to a few of these illustrations that I hadn’t noticed in Walker’s art before: the stars in the Israfel drawing, the same kinds of tiny nested circles that Finlay favoured, and dots stippled in white that must have been applied with paint rather than ink. Finlay would have been the right age to have been given (or shown) Walker’s drawings when he was a child which makes me wonder if they exerted a minor influence.


“When the hounds of spring” by Algernon Charles Swinburne.


The Lady of Shalott by Alfred Tennyson.

Continue reading “Dugald Stewart Walker’s Rainbow Gold”

Dream Boats and Other Stories by Dugald Stewart Walker


As is often the case, I keep intending to post various lengthy pieces but pressure of work is preventing that for the moment. So here’s another illustrated book courtesy of the Internet Archive. I linked to this in an earlier post about Walker’s work but hadn’t looked at all the illustrations until now. Dream Boats and Other Stories (1920), a collection of fairy tales, was written and illustrated by Walker, and while the prose is too twee for my jaded palette I do like his drawings. Browse the rest of the book here or download it here.




Continue reading “Dream Boats and Other Stories by Dugald Stewart Walker”

The Snow Queen


Edmund Dulac.

Empty, vast, and cold were the halls of the Snow Queen. The flickering flame of the northern lights could be plainly seen, whether they rose high or low in the heavens, from every part of the castle. In the midst of its empty, endless hall of snow was a frozen lake, broken on its surface into a thousand forms; each piece resembled another, from being in itself perfect as a work of art, and in the centre of this lake sat the Snow Queen, when she was at home. She called the lake “The Mirror of Reason,” and said that it was the best, and indeed the only one in the world.

Here in Britain it may not be quite as cold as it was earlier in the month but the Snow Queen still has us in her thrall. Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale was published in 1845 and, like many of the writer’s stories, is a blend of the beguiling and irritating: beguiling for the traces of older folk tales in its trolls, their magic mirror, and the Snow Queen as an embodiment of the season; irritating for the Christian gloss which is layered over everything like a sugar-coating. In this respect it’s a lot like Christmas; religiose sentimentality papered over winter rituals that are older and darker than the celebrations we’re supposed to acknowledge.


Edmund Dulac.

Andersen’s story has been illustrated and filmed many times with varying success. The Internet Archive has several illustrated editions, the selections here being from two of the better ones. Edmund Dulac’s Stories from Hans Andersen (1911) is one of the shorter collections and features predominantly colour pictures while Dugald Stewart Walker’s Fairy Tales from Hans Christian Andersen (1914) is one of the most heavily illustrated as well as having finer renderings of many stories. But not of the Snow Queen in her palace, Dulac beats everyone there.


Dugald Stewart Walker.

This description stood out from the second part of Andersen’s tale:

In winter all this pleasure came to an end, for the windows were sometimes quite frozen over. But then they would warm copper pennies on the stove, and hold the warm pennies against the frozen pane; there would be very soon a little round hole through which they could peep…

My sister and I had been reminiscing recently about growing up in the 1960s when central heating and double-glazing were a lot less common than they are today. This meant little or no heating in bedrooms, so very cold weather often meant the same frozen windows which Andersen describes. People in rural places will be familiar with this but it’s something I haven’t seen for years. When you’re a child it’s quite an excitement waking up to find that Jack Frost has paid a visit but these days I prefer a warm house.

As usual I’ll be away for a few days so the archive feature will be activated to summon posts from the past. Have a good one. And Gruß vom Krampus!


Dugald Stewart Walker.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrators archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Dugald Stewart Walker revisited
More Arabian Nights
The art of Dugald Stewart Walker, 1883–1937

Dugald Stewart Walker revisited


The Golden Porch (1925).

A post prompted by an email from Deborah Hirsch who wrote to tell me about some original works she’d found by American illustrator Dugald Stewart Walker (1883–1937), scans of which are shown here with her permission. This has made me take another look at Walker’s drawings, many of which I’d overlooked during earlier searches. His body of work runs from the usual fairy-tale illustration to some very fine renderings of tales from Ancient Greece. He was also an excellent peacock illustrator although you’ll have to look elsewhere for those; Golden Age Comic Book Stories has made several postings of his book plates. The drawings shown here are from Snythergen (1923) by Hal Garrott, The Golden Porch (1925) and Orpheus with His Lute (1926), both by WML Hutchinson.


The Golden Porch (1925).

Every so often an artist’s work sets me wondering about their sexuality, a consideration which agitates some, especially surviving relatives, who find such speculation to be unwarranted or vulgar. The matter is relevant for two reasons: firstly, if an artist turns out to be gay or bisexual (as was the case with Hannes Bok) then certain details in their work become informed by that knowledge. Secondly, there’s still a lot more work to be done in retrieving from history the lives of gay people who have added to our culture in some way. Illustrators receive little attention in this area since illustration has always been the poor cousin to gallery art. I try to be wary of projecting my own concerns onto an artist for whom such attention may be unwarranted, and I’m not saying one can read anything substantial into Walker’s life simply by looking at his pictures. I do, however, have a mental checklist for any gay vs. straight appraisal which includes among its subjects common themes such as Greek myths (especially those concerning Orpheus and Narcissus), a recurrence of nude males, excessively florid décor, etc. Let’s just say that certain aspects of Walker’s work are (as Sherlock Holmes would say) “suggestive”, and the ex libris plate at the end of this post is notable for illustrating Keats’ famous quote about truth and beauty with a peacock and a (nude?) boy. If anyone has any relevant details about Dugald Stewart Walker’s life, as always they’re encouraged to leave a comment.

A Dugald Stewart Walker set at Flickr
Dream Boats and Other Stories (1920) at the Internet Archive

Continue reading “Dugald Stewart Walker revisited”