It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

Aubrey Beardsley's illustrations from Le Morte D'Arthur

page: 1
8

log in

join
share:

posted on May, 13 2015 @ 05:45 AM
link   




I know that there are lots of lovers of Arthurian Legend here at ATS, so i guess quite a few of you are familiar with Le Morte D'Arthur, compiled and written by the knightly rapist, kidnapper and thief Sir Thomas Malory (whose life "reads more like an account of exemplary thuggery than chivalry".) in the mid-ish 15th Century.







I'm not going to gush about Arthurian legend, the fascinating Malory or indeed how important a book Le Morte D'arthur is. I'm totally avoiding mentioning that it was one of the first books ever printed in England too, by the justly renowned William Caxton.





I just want to share some cool art!







I came across this edition of the book when i was 11 (weep, some 30 years ago), stumbling across it in a bookshop and i was blown away by the Art Nouveau (ish?) illustrations. It was a mighty tome, it was priced at the princely sum of forty quid and quickly became something i dearly wanted - and i finally got it from a bargain bin at the same shop for just 11 quid four years later






It is fabulously illustrated by Aubrey Beardsley, a young and aspiring illustrator (who was incidentally badly in need of a new hairstyle) in black ink line drawings - and this was his first commission at just 21 years of age, in 1893. He was cursed with ill health and died just four years later... but his work very much lives on and he is seen as a major influence on the development of Art Nouveau, apparently.





This particular edition of Le Morte D'Arthur drips with his work - full page illustrations abound, there are a couple of more detailed shaded works, plus every chapter contains an illustration as a header, and each page at the start of each book (21 in all) is fully illuminated too.



It really is a thing of beauty. Somewhat grotesque and a touch weird and amusing in parts, but beautiful never the less.





Thanks for reading!



Oh, here be the first two thirds of the text! Personally there are other Arthurian works that i prefer and Malory (in compiling such a huge work) does repeatedly repeat various themes and devices, but it is a wonderful read never the less.
edit on 13-5-2015 by skalla because: typos

edit on 13-5-2015 by skalla because: clarity




posted on May, 13 2015 @ 03:48 PM
link   
This is an extraordinary coincidence. My brother and I walking in town last week happened to go past a newly opened second hand bookshop, in the window stood a copy of Le Morte D'Arthur, illustrated by Aubrey Beardsley. My brother said it wasn't Beardsley, I said it was but since neither of us were brave enough to go it was left undecided. Beardsley or not, we knew the price tag would be too rich for our pockets...you can just tell. Anyway, your thread I can use to prove my correctness without the indignity of asking to handle a book that I anticipate never being able to afford to buy. Thanks for that.

I dislike the Le Morte D'Arthur of all the versions of events, Mallory was too literal and therefore missed the point entirely. Beardsley's work is excellent, but as illustrators go, I prefer Arthur Rackham.



posted on May, 13 2015 @ 03:52 PM
link   
Wonderful illustrations and beautifully detailed!



posted on May, 13 2015 @ 04:27 PM
link   
a reply to: Anaana

Malory is probably my least favourite of all of the versions of Arthurian Legend too, and bar the French stuff (Chretien excepted) i've probably done pretty much the lot - it's just a touch dry and repetitive and somewhat lacks the misty wonder i feel from the other tellings.

I've been reading my son Roger Lancelyn Green's retellings this last week or so - which also comes with wonderful illustrations.. well, cut out stencil type pictures at any rate and in an idle half hour earlier today i thought i'd make a slightly random thread


On some days, i find some of Beardsley's illustrations in Le Morte D'Arthur a touch slapdash and hurried - no shock i guess considering the size of what he had to produce at such a young age; but the better full page illustrations, some of which i included here, i pretty much adore.

I was shocked when i found it in the bargain bin so many years ago. I used to go to that particular bookshop regularly as a kid and always flicked though it despondently, believing i'd never be able to afford the thing. It wouldn't surprise me if the copy i bought was the exact same one i first saw a few years before.

I've just been looking at some of Arthur Rackham's work and recognise a few pieces, but looking at list of some of the works he illustrated i'm pretty much drooling. I'll be on the look out to get some in future, luck being on my side.

Also, i hope you manage to let your brother know he was wrong
such opportunities should be exploited to their fullest!



posted on May, 14 2015 @ 01:28 PM
link   
a reply to: skalla

Love Aubrey... always have... cool post.... so many layers to his work, great style... cool 'occulty' bio, too.


Skoal...



posted on May, 14 2015 @ 04:09 PM
link   

originally posted by: skalla
Malory is probably my least favourite of all of the versions of Arthurian Legend too, and bar the French stuff (Chretien excepted) i've probably done pretty much the lot - it's just a touch dry and repetitive and somewhat lacks the misty wonder i feel from the other tellings.

I've been reading my son Roger Lancelyn Green's retellings this last week or so - which also comes with wonderful illustrations.. well, cut out stencil type pictures at any rate and in an idle half hour earlier today i thought i'd make a slightly random thread


As far as Arthur goes, The Once and Future King is my be-all and end-all. I read it to my son a few years ago, it was a little grown up for him in places then, I was perhaps a little too eager to share. That year, for World Book Day, I made him a Merlin costume, complete with a pointy hat and robe covered in glittering stars and galaxies...I even sewed Wol (from Winnie the Pooh) on his shoulder for the Archimedes effect...he was a dead ringer for White's Merlin, of course, he spent the whole day having to explain that no he wasn't one of the teachers from Hogwarts



originally posted by: skalla
On some days, i find some of Beardsley's illustrations in Le Morte D'Arthur a touch slapdash and hurried - no shock i guess considering the size of what he had to produce at such a young age; but the better full page illustrations, some of which i included here, i pretty much adore.

I was shocked when i found it in the bargain bin so many years ago. I used to go to that particular bookshop regularly as a kid and always flicked though it despondently, believing i'd never be able to afford the thing. It wouldn't surprise me if the copy i bought was the exact same one i first saw a few years before.


It is a beautiful book, I perhaps would have enjoyed Mallory's narrative style had I Beardsley's illustration to get me through the drier pages. I had the two volume Penguin classics set which I relinquished to the charity shop due to lack of interest some years ago.


originally posted by: skalla
I've just been looking at some of Arthur Rackham's work and recognise a few pieces, but looking at list of some of the works he illustrated i'm pretty much drooling. I'll be on the look out to get some in future, luck being on my side.


His work was very popular, most antiquarian bookshops sell a selection of his plate prints. I also recommend Edmund Dulac, I'd love to come across the Rubaiyat illustrated by him in a bargain bucket. A person can dream...



originally posted by: skalla
Also, i hope you manage to let your brother know he was wrong
such opportunities should be exploited to their fullest!


Absolutely, but to be perfectly honest, if it hadn't been for a previous thread on ATS that introduced me to Beardsley's work I would not have even been able to hold my own in the conversation...it is all just coming around again.




top topics
 
8

log in

join