Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale’s illustrated Tennyson


Drawings from an edition of Alfred Tennyson’s Poems illustrated by British artist Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale (1872–1945) which was published by George Bell & Sons in 1905. The book was part of a series of illustrated poetry collections that included several books featured here in previous posts: Poems by John Keats and Poems by Percy Bysshe Shelley both illustrated by Robert Anning Bell, and The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe illustrated by William Heath Robinson. There was also an edition of Browning illustrated by Byam Shaw at whose art school Ms Fortescue-Brickdale was employed as a teacher. Her Tennyson drawings aren’t entirely to my taste, I’ve omitted the full-page works which are rather static pre-Raphaelite-derived things. Far better are these vignettes whose heavy outlines and sinuous curves resemble both Heath Robinson’s early illustrations and Pamela Coleman Smith‘s famous Tarot card designs. As usual the Internet Archive has the whole book and (should anyone require more Tennyson) Ms Fortescue-Brickdale’s take on that Victorian staple Idylls of the King.




Continue reading “Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale’s illustrated Tennyson”

Vintage eye candy


Tommies Bathing by John Singer Sargent (1918).

More discoveries from recent image trawls. There’s been plenty of speculation about the sexuality of John Singer Sargent—see here, for example—and this watercolour depiction of relaxing British soldiers would seem to be another of his works which confirms an enchantment with the male form. Lust aside, it’s a remarkable and typically assured sketch in a difficult medium.


Hermes by Will H. Low (1885).

Will Low’s Greek god is from an illustrated edition of Keats’ Lamia, a PDF of which can be found at the Internet Archive although the compression setting is so severe that the drawings are pretty much ruined throughout. This is how Microsoft and Google are safeguarding the world’s artistic heritage… The copy above comes via another Flickr set.


Also at Archive.org, and far better quality, is another book illustrated by Will Low, In Arcady by Hamilton Wright Mabie, a rather insipid parable in a faux-Classical manner which gave the artist an opportunity to fill the pages with piping fauns and naked youths. It wouldn’t be fair to paint Low as another closet Uranian like Sargent solely on account of this handful of drawings; for now he can remain a further victim of our salacious modern sensibilities.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrators archive