Tuesday, April 20, 2010

entirely original in spirit and execution

One of the reasons that illustrations from the early part of the 20th Century make me so happy is that I doubt I will ever run out of new artists to discover. Dugald Stewart Walker was born in Richmond, Virginia (yay Virginia natives!) in 1883.  In the foreward for the first book he illustrated, Walker was described as "a new artist of remarkable talent, suggesting Rackham and Dulac but entirely original in spirit and execution."  Here are some of his illustrations which I love best:
Clearly my selections are informed heavily by my love of wind and water motifs. I also adore his lettering.  Wikipedia provides an excerpt from a foreward he wrote in a copy of Hans Christian Anderson's tales he illustrated in 1914 which may be the loveliest bit of text I've ever read.
"I have never been anywhere except Richmond, Virginia, and New York, because I have always been told that only grown-up people were allowed to travel. But the good East Wind and the kindly Moon have taken me on rapturous journeys high above the world to get an enchanted view of things. In this book I have put some of my discoveries, but if you are looking here for real likeness of the things that any one could see if he were grown up, you had better close the covers now. You cannot expect me to draw an exact picture of the North Pole or of a Chinese lady's feet or of a sea-cucumber. But if you are interested in what the East Wind or the Father Stork or the Moon told me, then look with my eyes and you will not mind very much if the courtiers in the ogre's court, or the dock leaves in the Garden of Paradise, are not just as a grown-up person thinks they should be. After all is said and done, what the young ones say about it is the all-important matter."
I pulled my illustrations from the blogs {feuilleton} and Golden Age Comic Book Stories (which has several posts about Walker).  Additionally, the full text with Walker illustrations of The Boy Who Knew What the Birds Said by Padriac Colum is available at Project Gutenberg.

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