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household tales illustrations

Besides writing the Ghormenghast trilogy and other novels and stories, Mervyn Peake also worked as a visual artist, illustrating his own books as well as classics such as 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'Treasure Island'. Like his books, Peake's pen drawings are darkly expressionistic, grotesque and poetic - fantastic in the old-fashioned sense of the word.

The Mervyn Peake website collects many of them, but somehow omits his illustrations, first published in 1946, for the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, from a collection titled 'Household Tales'. Not surprisingly, Peake's images fit the magical atmosphere and strange logic of these tales perfectly, bringing out their humor as well as their darker, scarier side.

Here are some examples, from 'The Goose Girl', 'The Golden Bird' and 'The Bremen Town Musicians'. The first one especially is a quintessential fairy tale image...

The Goose Girl - Mervyn Peake

The Golden Bird - Mervyn Peake

The Bremen Town Musicians - Mervyn Peake

boy in darkness

Mervyn Peake 's novella 'Boy in Darkness' is a little-known addition to the famous Gormenghast trilogy. Published (oddly enough) as a children's book, it is a sketchy but chilling horror tale in Peake's trademark gothic style. The c… Read the full post »

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