Illustration - Spring 2015 - Issue 43

Spring is always a good time for discoveries, rediscoveries and reinterpretations and in this issue we consider all of these elements when we look first at the outstanding work of Kenneth Rowntree, who has, perhaps, been somewhat overlooked in the current fashion for all things “mid-century modern”. This may be partly because many of his largest and most ambitious works were murals, now lost forever except for records in plans and books. However his images for Recording Britain, the School Prints project and book covers still provide a strong legacy well worth exploring. We then examine the painstaking and meticulously researched draughtsmanship of Charles Stewart, whose magnum opus, Sheridan le Fanu’s Uncle Silas, had to be mothballed until the Folio Society unearthed the illustrations and reprinted them 40 years after they were first drawn. We find out why and learn more about Stewart’s life and obsessions.    
Alice in Wonderland has probably been reinvented more times than any other text, each generation coming up with a different angle on what Paul Nash described as England’s contribution to Surrealism. We consider a new edition that draws on 21st-century images created by artists around the world, but never before shown in the context of the complete text, only as screen images on the internet. This raises interesting questions about the relationship between text and illustration and the medium in which they are displayed. Meanwhile, wood-engraving slides in and out of vogue in all countries, but disappeared entirely from all forms of publishing in Italy until two artists decided to launch an organisation and a magazine to promote it in the 1990s. We find out more about their productions and the engravers from around the world who have rallied to the cause. We hope that all our readers will find something old to rediscover and something new to enjoy in this selection.

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