Wednesday, April 30, 2008

gilded age illustrations

My love affair with Gilded Age fairy tale illustrations began with the discovery of a 1926 edition of Grimm's Fairy Tales amongst my Great Aunt Martha's belongings. It wasn't in the greatest of shape, but the plates, by illustrator Elenore Abbott, were full color and gorgeous, rife with tall, slender ladies in richly embroidered flapper-style gowns.In searching for more information about Abbott (of which there is very little), I stumbled across, a veritable goldmine of Gilded Age illustrations. In browsing it, I fell in love with everything I saw. A few months back, in a moment of weakness, I buckled and purchased a 1976 edition of East of the Sun and West of the Moon featuring the original 1914 illustrations by Kay Nielsen. I love it. I will go to my grave clutching this book.Finally, while poking about in a local antique store, I came across a 1932 Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám translated by Edward Fitzgerald and illustrated by Edmund Dulac. To say that I was ecstatic would probably be an understatement.While working for a university slide library, I discovered that the world of illustrations is far, wide, and stretches far, far into the past. This slice is my personal collection, but for anyone interested in illustration as a whole, or just the strange things found in books, I recommend the blog BibliOdyssey. It's truly a cabinet of curiosities.

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