Thursday 10 June 2010

Edmund Dulac

Edmund Dulac (born Edmond Dulac, October 22, 1882 – May 25, 1953) was a French book illustrator prominent during the so called "Golden Age of Illustration" (the first quarter or so of the twentieth century).

Born in Toulouse, France, he began his career by studying law at the University of Toulouse, but also followed classes in the Ecole des Beaux Arts, switching full time to art after he became bored with law, and also having won prizes at the Ecole des Beaux Arts. He spent a very brief period at the Académie Julian in Paris in 1904 before moving to London.

In London, the 22-year old Frenchman was picked up by J.M. Dent and given a commission to illustrate the collected works of the Brontë sisters. He then began an association with the Leicester Gallery and Hodder and Stoughton; the gallery would commission paintings from Dulac and then sell the rights to Hodder and Stoughton, who would publish the books (one book a year over many years) while the gallery would sell the paintings.

Books produced under this arrangement by Dulac include Stories from The Arabian Nights (1907) (including 50 colour images), an edition of Shakespeare's The Tempest (1908) (including 40 colour images), of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1909) (including 20 colour images), The Sleeping Beauty and Other Fairy Tales (1910), Stories from Hans Christian Andersen (1911), The Bells and Other Poems by Edgar Allan Poe (1912) (including 28 colour images and many monotone illustrations) and Princess Badoura (1913).

Dulac became a naturalized British Citizen on Feb 17 1912. During World War I he contributed to relief books, including King Albert's Book, Princess Mary's Gift Book, and, unusually, his own Edmund Dulac's Picture Book for the French Red Cross (1915) (including 20 colour images). Hodder and Stoughton also published The Dreamer of Dreams (1915) (including 6 colour images) - a work composed by the then Queen of Romania. In 1995, Ann Hughey compiled a bibliography - Edmund Dulac - His Book Illustrations: A Bibliography, which lists over 800 editions of works that include illustrations by Edmund Dulac.

After the war, the deluxe edition illustrated book became a rarity and Dulac's career in this field was over. His last such books were Edmund Dulac's Fairy Book (1916), the Tanglewood Tales (1918) (including 14 colour images) and the exquisite The Kingdom of the Pearl (1920). His career continued in other areas however, including newspaper caricatures (especially at The Outlook), portraiture, theatre costume and set design, bookplates, chocolate boxes, medals, and various graphics (especially for The Mercury Theatre, Notting Hill Gate). Halfway through his final book commission (Milton's Comus), Dulac died of a heart attack on 25 May 1953.

Wednesday 9 June 2010

Beach Luggers

For a number of years now I have been going down to Hastings in Sussex and photographing 'abstract' details of the fishing boats known as Beach Luggers; so called because they are literally drawn up onto the shingle beach each day by cable and pushed back into the sea by tractor.

The images I produce remind me of abstract expressionist paintings of the 1950's, particularly what became known as 'Colour Field' work by American painters such as Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman. Here are some of my photos of beach luggers interspersed with examples of the paintings.

A painting by Barnett Newman:

Beach Lugger:

A painting by Mark Rothko:

Beach Luggers:

Another painting by Mark Rothko:

Beach Luggers:

A painting by a contemporary 'colour field' painter Sean Scully
(I'll post a blog on Scully's work soon).

Beach Lugger: