Byline: bargain hunter don rodgers
THE first quarter of the 20th century is generally considered to be the Golden Age of book illustration. Shown here are examples of the work of two of the best known artists and illustrators of the period, Willy Pogany and Edmund Dulac.
There are a number of parallels between the two. They were almost exact contemporaries. They were born in the same year, 1882 - Pogany in Hungary, Dulac in France - and they died within two years of each other, 1953 and 1955 respectively. They both studied for a while in Paris before coming to London in the early 20th century, where they both achieved fame as book illustrators.
The year Dulac arrived in London was a significant one. In 1905, printers had discovered an improved method of mass-producing coloured illustrations, known today as colour separation.
The only drawback was that these illustrations had to be printed on specially coated paper, before being affixed or "tipped in" separately.
This new process led in 1905 to the publication of Arthur Rackham's Rip Van Winkle, followed by his Peter Pan in 1906. Both books were a success and Dulac arrived just in time to benefit from this new market in illustrated "gift" books.
The colour separation process suited Dulac's talents particularly well, as it allowed accurate reproduction of subtle nuances of colour. Dulac did his illustrations as paintings which were then sold in their own right.
He illustrated a number of such books before World War I, including The Arabian Nights, The Tempest, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and Stories from Hans Andersen. When World War I broke out, Dulac turned his talents to helping the war effort.
The coloured plate reproduced here is taken from his book, Edmund Dulac's Picture-Book for the French Red Cross. …