Archive for January 24th, 2009

January 24, 2009

Looking at the pretty pictures

In the last three days I have acquired new editions of books I already own purely for their illustrators. The first was a (bright pink) copy of H.G Wells’ War of the Worlds illustrated by Edward Gorey. I did not know that this existed; I was thrilled to find that it did. It’s on my shelf looking pulpy and garish and awesome, and I’m very pleased with it.

The second had more significance because it was something I’d been looking for for ages. Regular readers of this blog have probably noticed by now that I like Mervyn Peake. Rather a lot. At some point in the 1940s Peake did a series of illustrations for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. Some of these pop up in anthologies sometimes, and I’ve always admired them (I’m almost as much a fan of Peake’s art as I am of his writing). Then yesterday there it was in Midland (the Aurobindo Market branch; the bit outside the shop where all the Penguin classics and grubby children’s books are kept), slightly foxed but generally untouched and in good condition. Anyone could have picked it up. I’m lucky it was me.