Monday 16 December 2013

Edmund Dulac - part 1

Edmund Dulac (born Edmond Dulac 1882 – 1953) was a French magazine illustrator, book illustrator and stamp designer. Born in Toulouse, France, he began his career by studying law at the University of Toulouse. He also studied art, switching to it full-time after he became bored with law, and 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.

He was commissioned by the publisher J.M. Dent to "Jane Eyre." He then began an association with the Leicester Gallery and Hodder & Stoughton; the gallery commissioned paintings from Dulac which they sold; the rights to the paintings were purchased by Hodder & Stoughton, who used them as illustrations, publishing one  book a year. Books produced under this arrangement include "Stories from The Arabian Nights (19070 with 50 colour images; and edition of William Shakespeare's "The Tempest" (19080 wwith 40 colour images; "The Rubàiyàt of Omar Khayyam" (1909) with 20 colour images: "The Sleeping Beauty and Other Fairy Tales" (1920) "Stories from Hans Andersen (1911) "The Bells and Other Poems by Edgar Allan Poe" (1912) with 28 colour images and numerous monotone images, and "Princess Badoura" (1913). 

Dulac became a naturalised British Citizen in 1912. During World War I he contributed to war relief books, including "King Albert’s Book" (1914), "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.

1914 Illustration from King Albert's Book

Illustration "True Spartan Hearts" for Princess Mary's Gift Book

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) with 14 colour images, and  "The Kingdom of the Pearl" (1920). His career continued in other areas however, including newspaper caricatures, portraiture. theatre costume design, bookplates, chocolate boxes, medals, and various graphics. 

1917 Isidore de Lara 
watercolour and bodycolour 34.3 x 24.8 cm

1919 The Young Kaiser and Clemenceau
 pen and ink 25.4 x 19 cm 
( probably from "The Outlook" ) 

Perfect Peace ( Mr Balfour ) A Reminiscence of San Remo
 pen and ink 25.4 x 17.8 cm 
Exhibited at Leicester Galleries 1920

Costume design for the character of Momus in the opera "Phebus and Pan"

He also produced illustrations for The American Weekly, a Sunday supplement belonging to the Hearst newspaper chain in America and Britain's Country Life. Country Life Limited (London) published Gods and Mortals in Love (1935) (including 9 colour images) based on a number of the contributions made by Dulac to Country Life previously. The Daughter of the Stars (1939) was a further publication to benefit from Dulac's artwork - due to constraints related to the outbreak of World War II, that title included just 2 colour images. He continued to produce books for the rest of his life, more so than any of his contemporaries, although these were less frequent and less lavish than during the Golden Age.
Halfway through his final book commission (Milton's "Comus"), Dulac died of a heart attack on 25 May 1953 in London.
Biographical notes adapted from Wikipedia. 

This is part 1 of a 7-part post on the works of Edmund Dulac:

1893 The Fish 

1904c Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte:

1907 Fairies I have Met
The first children's book to be illustrated by Dulac was Mrs. Stawell's "Fairies I Have Met”, originally published in 1907 and later reissued in 1920 as "My Days with the Fairies”.

Front Cover

Front Cover

The Sea-Fairy and The Land-Fairy 
"He held out the little shell in the beam of coloured light." 

Princess Orchid's Party 
"She smiled at him very graciously when he was introduced to her."

The Cloud that had no Lining 
"And because the silver of the moonshine-fairies is very light he was able to carry a great deal of it."

The Fairies who changed Places 
"Drop-of-Crystal was too busy to speak."

The Big Spider's Diamonds 
"The web and the diamonds and the Big Spider himself all fell to the ground."

A Little Girl in a Book 
"The other people in the book looked at her in surprise."

1907 Stories from The Arabian Nights:

Front Cover

Cover of a 1911 Edition

( Frontispiece ) Princess Scheherazade, the heroine of The Thousand-And-One Nights

Title Page

Their chief in a low but distinct voice uttered the two words, "Open Sesame"

This way and that she led him blindfold.

Pirouezè, the fairest and most honourably born.

The lady advanced to meet him.

A city among the Idles named Deryabar.

The Princess Deryabar.

At so arrogant a claim all the courtiers burst into loud laughter.

Till the tale of her mirror contented her.

She gave orders for the banquet to be served.

So strange of form and so brilliant and diverse in hue.

The damsel upset the pan.

Supposing me asleep, they began to talk.

Great was the astonishment of the vizier.

Maidens on a white horse.

The fisherman and the genie.

The magic horse.

The ship struck a rock.

All this time the Princess had been watching the combat from the roof of the palace.

As soon as he came in she began to jeer at him.

Having transformed himself by disguise.

He arrived within sight of a palace of shining marble.

Then for the last figure of all she drew out the dagger.

The Queen of the Ebony Isle.

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