Favourite illustrations #5: Edmund Dulac’s Picture Book for the French Red Cross
Dulac's picture book for the French Red Cross inspired me at a young age
Posted on: 20th March 2013
The next golden age illustrator to be featured in my ongoing series of blogs on my favourite illustrations is Edmund Dulac.
Dulac was a French illustrator who was born in 1882. He is one of the most celebrated artists of the golden age.
Although he began by studying law, Dulac quickly switched to art and, like many Golden Age illustrators, moved to London - then at the heart of the illustrated book publishing business.
One of Dulac's early commissions was to illustrate Jane Eyre. He then began working with Hodder and Stoughton. The company used his work to accompany various editions of fairy tales - such as Sleeping Beauty and tales from Hans Christian Anderson - as well as many other stories (including Shakespeare's The Tempest and the Arabian Nights).
Picture Book for the French Red Cross
However, anyone who asks me why I like the work of Edmund Dulac should look first at his Picture Book which was published to raise money for the French Red Cross in 1915.
Dulac, who lived in Britain most of his life and became a British Citizen in 1912, was an incredibly versatile artist. As well as Illustrating books, he also worked on a variety of other projects, including designing postage stamps che designed those to celebrate the coronation of King George VI, the 1948 Summer Olympics and the Festival of Britain in 1951) and bank notes.
Although after the First World War, the demand for illustrated books receded, Dulac continued to work, and died midway through his last work (Milton's Comus) in 1953.
Mastery of technique
This book remains one of my favourites, demonstrates Dulac's mastery of the technique for depicting starry skies in watercolour - which can be seen in his Cinderella illustration above.
I was once told about the mechanics of this technique and tried it out. It works!