On My Bookshelf…The Arabian Nights

The Arabian Nights, with illustrations by Detmold. This Folio edition was first published in 1924.

“My father hurriedly mounted his horse, and spurred it toward that of the negro, who…dashed forward brandishing his scimitar”
“The Rukh, which fed its young on elephants”

Edward Julius Detmold was born in 1883 in London, with a twin, Charles Maurice. They were both prolific Victorian illustrators and precociously talented – their watercolours being exhibited in the Royal Academy at 13. Their familial interests in both natural history and Japanese woodprints nurtured their talents and both these and Art Nouveau elements can be seen influencing their work.

“The next day he sat me behind him on an elephant”

This is a more sparse book, illustratively speaking, and again a very different style to the art of my other Folio editions of classic children’s literature. They are soft and muted, almost representing the hazy heat of the Arabic fantasy world.

“Whilst they were yet devouring the meat he hastily filled his flagon”
“She was wrapped in a long veil of gold embroidered silk”

Certainly the love of depicting animals is clear, and these stand out even amongst the main characters – 8 out of the 12 plates has an animal as the focus.

“The wolf changed into a cock, which began picking up the grains”
“A magnificent steed, as black as night”

Thanks to Wikipedia and here

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