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Art and Literature Entwined: Book Illustrations from Albrecht Durer to Arthur Rackham ClareFord-Wille Friday 23 November 2018


23 November 2018
 - Clare Ford-Wille

1030am - 3.30pm

Southampton City Art Gallery

£25 per day or £125 for the full course of 5 days including coffee/tea

Please see here to book.

Art and Literature Entwined: Book Illustrations from Albrecht Durer to Arthur Rackham

There was a great tradition of book illustration before the invention of printing, such as the illuminated Gospels and Psalters of the medieval period. But the true integration of text and accompanying illustration began to emerge in the 15th century with the advent of printing and the production of block books, in which the text of the book was carved into the same block as the image. This also led to a greater variety and number of secular books, from satirical poems to the humanist writings of Erasmus, Thomas More and Luther. The integration of text and illustration was developed further by Dürer with the positioning of his woodcut illustrations to the Apocalypse on the right of the text in order to give them maximum impact.

During the 16th century, the more detailed techniques of etching and engraving gave rise to a rapid spread in illustrated books of all kinds. With the introduction of the novel in the 18th century, book illustration burgeoned even more with illustrators such as Joseph Highmore, William Hogarth and French immigrants such as Gravelot. The 19th and 20th centuries epitomised the great age of book illustrations one only has to think of the Brothers Grimm and the early British edition of their stories, illustrated by George Cruikshank. Then there are the novels of Dickens and his famous collaborator and illustrator H.K Browne, who worked under the author’s close instruction as to the specific appearance of characters and the composition of plates. This meant that Browne’s visual interpretation of a character became as important as Dickens’s description, if not more so. One of the most prolific illustrators of all in the later 19th century was Gustav Goré with his illustrations for Dante, Milton and the Bible.

While illustration for adult books began to decline, the production of children’s illustrated literature continued to blossom in Britain and Europe, from Lewis Carroll and the wonderful illustrations of Alice in Wonderland by John Tenniel to the work of renowned illustrators, such as Edmund Dulac, Arthur Rackham and Beatrix Potter.