You know how some bookshelves have had the same books on them in the same place for so long they effectively become wallpaper? My parents house is papered with this. I recently took some time to really look at some of these books, actually remove them from their tightly packed spot, dust off the dead skin, and peek inside. I found some pretty neat treasures in some. A picture heavy post, so bare with, I hope you see it’s worth it:
First up is a real favourite of mine: Grimm’s Houeshold Tales (I had a love/hate relationship with the Brothers Grimm as a child. I think all kids do. Their parents assume they love the stories, when in actual fact they hate them.) Illustrated by Mervyn Peake, again, a superhero of words and images for me. He really deserves his own post tbh… something to look forward to in the near future I think. This book really shows off how he could adapt his style so well – everything from dense, intricate lines showing such patience and dedication, to swift, flowing strokes and bold cartoon-like illustrations. Plus beautiful full colour plates, which is always a treat.
Next up is a collection of Irish Fairy Tales by James Stephens, with fantastic illustrations by Arthur Rackham. I love Rackham’s illustrations; when I discovered him and other illustrators from that Golden Age it was one of the key moments that convinced me that I need to be an illustrator. I usually associate his work with the dreamy, softly coloured scenes like the ones from Alice in Wonderland, but I really love how his style translates for woodcut images too.
Finally, less suitable for children (but only slightly – as if Grimm’s tales are totally child-friendly… and those Rackham wolves are downright terrifying) is a collection of Charles Addams cartoons. I had no idea this is where the Addams Family originated. I’m not the biggest fan of the Addams’s derivatives I must confess… but the originals are actually really clever and surprisingly dark.