Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Miscellany

This entry marks the end of the art book section of my library. These books occupy the bottom shelf.

Below are some oddities that don't really fit anywhere else, so I've lumped them together.

Firstly, The Illustrated Golden Bough - A study in magic and religion, by Sir James George Frazer. I also have a very large hard cover called The Mythic Image by Joseph Campbell on the same sort of thing, but it is a bit too large to scan.

Another book on myth, a famous one at that, is this study of King Arthur. I was always fascinated by King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

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Another oddity - The Collectors Book of Children's Books by Eric Quale with one of the illustrations from the book representing a collection of first editions of the more prolific writers of the boy's adventure story with colourful pictorial cloth bindings.

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This Max Ernst book, I recall was given to me by the Thames & Hudson Rep who offered me a free book from his catalogue. I chose this one, being a bit of a fan of Max Ernst.

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Next, two famous Australian children's books, Snugglepot & Cuddlepie by May Gibbs and The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay.

These two books were staples of my childhood reading. They are both wonderfully illustrated.

The illustration below from Snugglepot & Cuddlepie has stayed with me forever. It horrified me when I was a child and still portrays the utter wickedness of the Banksia men very convincingly. I've never much cared for Banksias ever since, despite their very attractive flowers.

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By comparison, Lindsay's illustrations are much more comical.

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And finally, still on Australian humour and illustration Neil Curtis' Bear Dinkum - a charming eccentric graphic novel about a koala bear who becomes a master of the ballet in a very dinkum aussie way. The book is rather rare these days and I believe Neil Curtis is no longer with us, having died some years ago.

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Click for larger images

Coming next - fantasy and science fiction

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pop Culture

I have become aware during this exercise, that I purchased a great many books during the 1970s. This is probably because I worked during that time in a counter cultural bookshop and received a staff discount. The shop was called Space Age Books and was ostensibly a science fiction bookshop - the first of its kind in Melbourne. It sold other books besides science fiction, including books on cinema, art and pop culture.

So naturally I acquired a few books in the pop culture genre.

Take this Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll for instance. The "history" only goes up to the late seventies, but is full of very fine photographs of early and latter day artists shot by famous photographers such as Annie Leibowitz.

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Also in the rock n roll category is Rock Dreams by Guy Peellaert & Nik Cohn another history of rock n roll with dream like paintings of various musicians.

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Still relating to music, is this book of record covers. It has a plain black hard cover textured to resemble the grooves on a vinyl record.

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Two other curiosities are Monty Python's Big Red Book and Thoroughly Ripped, a Furry Freak Brothers collection. It also has a board game. Both these books are genuine first editions, so could be worth something these days.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Art - Fairy & Folk Tales Illustration

I have quite a few large format books on fairy & folk tales. Some are collections , like World Tales, which is actually very interesting in the selection of the tales and in the illustrations that accompany each tale, executed by different artists. The below illustration is by Sue Porter for Tales of A Parrot - a fairy tale from India.

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Another collection of various fairy stories illustrated by the master Arthur Rackham.

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A book on the life and art of Arthur Rackham

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Next a collection of Victorian Fairy Tales and Swedish Fairy Tales illustrated by John Bauer.

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Moonlight & Fairyland is a beautiful edition of fairy tales written by Laurence Housman.

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Snow White translated by Randall Jarrell & delicately illustrated by Ekholm Burket and a book on the graphic illustrations of Walter Crane.

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The following book is a sort of large chapbook edition of Beauty & The Beast illustrated by Michael Hague. Below is the front page with accompanying illustration. The high resolution pictures are tipped in adding class to what is really a very lovely book.

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And finally, a collection of stories by Alan Garner about fools called The Guizer - A Book of Fools. This book for some reason reminds me of Russell Hoban's Riddley Walker - it has that same primitive strangeness about it.

I've always been taken with the epigraph to the book - words spoken by the Eskimo Anarulunguaq, when he stood on the roof of a skyscraper overlooking New York.

"I see things more than my mind can grasp; and the only way to save oneself from madness is to suppose that we have all died suddenly before we knew, and that this is part of another life"

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Coming next - pop culture.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

More Art - Pre Raphaelites and other odd books

I am very fond of the Pre Raphaelites so naturally collected a few books on the topic. The National Gallery of Victoria has some very fine Pre Raphaelite paintings in its collection. I remember when I first saw the originals in the gallery I was struck by the jewel bright colours in the paintings to which reproductions do not do justice.

This very large book on Burne-Jones is lovely. I could only scan half of it. Alas such is the case with some of my art books - they are too large to scan. I have a very big book on Maxfield Parrish called The Early Years 1893 - 1930 which is too big to scan, but contains exquisite high quality reproductions of his art. Also too large, is a book on American Water Colours from which the header image is scanned.

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Another book on the Pre Raphaelites with a detail from the Burne-Jones painting Perseus and the Graiae

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I think I acquired the following book for its cover - a beautiful fairy king made of mother of pearl by Frederick Marriott.

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And finally, a couple of oddities in the decadent art category.

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Coming next - more fairy stories

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Graphic Art & Photography

I have a modest collection of graphic artists whom I can't even remember purchasing - when was it - way back when.

First up the amazing drawings of Heinrich Kley with his women dancing with crocodiles and other weird stuff.

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Will Bradley (1868-1962) was an American Graphic artist who was influenced by the Art Nouveau style and used it in his poster designs for such publications as Harpers Bazaar & the Ladies Home Journal. Very stylish indeed!


The above books were published by Dover who released many of this type of book back in the early 1970s.

Satty is another American graphic artist who specialised in dreamy surreal black and white illustrations who was very popular in - you guessed it - the 1970s.

And Edward Gorey surely needs no introduction. Below is a large format paperback of his first Amphigorey collection containing fifteen tales, including The Unstrung Harp, The Curious Sofa and the Gashlycrumb Tinies.

satty (Small) gorey (Small)

And lastly two photography books...

Julia Margaret Cameron is famous for her photographic portraits of prominent Victorian figures like Alfred Tennyson, Thomas Carlyle, Charles Darwin, Alice Liddell etc.

This is a lovely book with high quality reproductions. The cover shows a portrait of Mrs Herbert Duckworth who was the mother of Virginia Woolf.

The other book of photos, Egypt & The Holy Land in Historic Photographs by Francis Frith, I purchased after becoming obsessed with Edward Whittemore's Jerusalem Quartet. The photos struck me as being within the historical context of Sinai Tapestry - how Jerusalem and Egypt would have looked in the mid 1850s.

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As always click the images for a larger version.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Fantastic Art

In the early 1970s Pan Ballantine published a series of large format paperback art books dedicated to Fantastic Art. I collected quite few of them at the time. If you like what you see here, I recommend you check out John Coulthart’s wonderful blog, Feuilleton for more on this series. John had a feature post on these books last year. His post has some covers that are missing from my modest collection.

Below are the covers of the books from this series on my shelves.

fantastic_art fantastic_kingdom
innocent_art kay_nielson
rousseau max_ernst


Next, two which really aren't part of the Ballantine series - Escher and more art from Vienna.

escher fantastic_art_vienna

As well as the above collection, I also have included in this post related books dealing with Fantastic or Fantasy Art, which I should imagine are fairly rare these days. Fantasy - The Golden Age of Fantastic Illustration is a beautiful hard covered book with lavish high quality illustrations in colour and black & white which covers many of artists that featured in the Pan Ballantine series.

The Emil Petaja book is more illustrative of early Science Fiction & Fantasy magazine cover art.

fantasy showcase_fantasyart