Wednesday, February 23, 2011

H J Ford - Guinevere

Watercolour and bodycolour on paper
Signed with initials

7.99 inches wide 13.78 inches high

Henry Justice Ford’s imaginative images of Fairy Land were the staple diet of a whole generation of Edwardians. He illustrated Andrew Lang’s long-running series of 12 fairy books that began with The Blue Fairy Book in 1889 and ended in 1910 with The Lilac Fairy Book. The series became a landmark in the presentation of traditional tales, for it introduced children to selections of old and new tales of every kind, known and unknown and from many different sources, at a time when interest in fairy tales was beginning to decline. In addition, not including his work for Punch, he illustrated 13 other volumes edited by Lang: stories from legend, romance and history.

Ford’s graphic style belongs to the great illustrative tradition going back to Bewick, with the foremost influences of Crane, Edward Burne-Jones and the Pre-Raphaelites. It was Burne-Jones, his friend, who had the greatest influence on his work, especially on his earlier, precisely decorated line drawings; but it is in the later coloured works that he comes closest to the Pre-Raphaelite vision.

Guinivere was the daughter of Leodogrance of Camiliard, the most beautiful of women and wife of King Arthur. She fell hopelessly in love with Sir Lancelot, one of King Arthur’s famous Knights of the Round Table. The story of her adultery is legendary and resulted in the eventual destruction of Arthur's reign and his death.

Guinivere is generally called the “grey-eyed”; she was buried at Meigle, in Strathmore, and her name has become a synonym of a wanton or adulteress.


Medieval Muse said...

Love his work so much!

Hermes said...

I came across as the illustrator of the Andrew Lang books and didn't realise he was so good.

Medieval Muse said...

Amazon has a book of his works called
"Maidens, Monsters and Heroes: The Fantasy Illustrations of H. J. Ford". So many gorgeous illustrations, many in color.

Hermes said...

Added to my list many thanks - missed that.