Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Detmold brothers get Wild

There is one other Fall '10 Calla Edition title I want to bring to talk about— one that came to the attention of Dover a few years ago when I was combing through the work of the brothers Muarice and Edward Detmold, to compile An Edwardian Bestiary, completely filled with illustrations from these two brothers. Early in their development, The two had found strength in animal representations. Their first book, Pictures from Birdland, (1899) contains some superb work, influenced by Asian woodblock prints, art-nouveau design, and the brothers own sensitivities to wildlife. Amazing stuff. Then look at the fact that they were teenagers (sixteen!) when they did the work, and you get an idea of the capabilities they had at their disposal.
The Brothers took on Kipling's Jungle Book as a subject for a portfolio of 16 plates in 1903. When they were later added to the text by the publisher Macmillan, it made for a beautiful edition of the work—but the plates with the text were very small, a fraction of the size they appeared in the portfolio. Calla is printing the plates larger than they have ever been printed with the text, including several images as spreads, with art reproduced from an original 1903 portfolio.

The second book I will be developing in the next season will further Dover's look at Edmund Dulac. I've spoken twice about Dulac in the past year, the second time foreshadowing the coming of this title. After strong success with Dulac's Fairy Tale Illustrations, and continued peeks at his imagery in Poe Illustrated, Arabian Nights Illustrated, and others, Dover felt we had enough interest to support a broader look at the illustration work of this pillar of the Golden Age. I'm really looking forward to putting this project together. An Edmund Dulac Treasury will be available in February of 2011.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Rackham and Grimm, together again

I was surprised to find when I scanned my postings, that I had not yet devoted a post to discussing the work of Arthur Rackham (1867-1939) . Then again, his work is relatively easy to find, and I like digging for the stuff that you might not be familiar with. It was Rackham's work that kicked all of this research and book work off for me, back in '02.—and not without good reason. Dover had already been printing some Rackham material, and it had done fairly well, so I asked "Why hadn't we explored more of it?" With some caution, and the added lure of a market for people specifically interested in fairy tales, Dover put out Rackham's Fairy Tale Illustrations, which has been a solid seller ever since. (about to go into it's fifth printing)
For anyone who may not know, Arthur Rackham, is likely considered the premier British children's book illustrator of the Golden Age. He had a long and productive career in illustration, even when others found different creative ventures, Rackham was always able to find work drawing for tales. His images form many of the icons we hold in our minds when imagining fairy tales—his work was widespread and well sought after. His art tells great stories, and the dark details catch the eyes of elder readers as well as younger listeners.
Within the new books of the Calla line for the Fall, is one of Rackham's greatest collections of color work, his 40 plates for the stories of the brother's Grimm. This original volume was massive—for this new edition, Calla has taken out a few stories that may not have been illustrated at all, or perhaps featured only a small detail. All of the stories that accompany the 40 color plates are included. To the right are some of the gems, featuring Rackham's organic lines, and his soft, earthy tones. The Calla edition, like the others mentioned in previous weeks, is slated for a September release.
Nestled in the hills of Stockbridge, Mass., you can find and visit the studio of the American illustration legend; Norman Rockwell. On the grounds nearby stands the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies, rapidly becoming a Northeast stronghold for illustration history—Rockwell's and beyond—what came before and after. Keep an eye on the exhibit list, and the site offers a good deal of information as well.