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.

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