Saturday, November 3, 2012

Shelf Candy Saturday #42: The Boy's King Arthur, by Thomas Malory (edited by Sidney Lanier)

Welcome to
Shelf Candy Saturday!!

This weekly meme/blog hop, hosted here,
features beautiful book covers!
It was originally hosted by
Stephanie @
Five Alarm Book Reviews,
a blog I really miss...
If you'd like to participate, just grab my button (or create your own), write your own post, and link up in the Linky widget at the bottom of this post. Just be sure to click on "Read more" so that the entire post will open up.
As a bonus, you can include information on the artist, designer, and/or photographer in your post, but it's not required. You can simply feature a cover and explain why you love it!
Here's my choice for this week!
(edited by Sidney Lanier)
Hardcover, 321 pages
Charles Scribner's Sons
(Reprinted 1989)
Fantasy, Arthurian Fiction
Why do I love this cover?
I've been a fan of the tales of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table since I was around 11 or so.  I found it thrilling to read about these knights going on quests and engaging in battles.  Magic was involved as well, which I also found fascinating!   My favorite magical character was Merlin, of course.
This cover is so rich in detail and brilliant color!  I especially love the thick red and gold cloth that covers most of the horse in the foreground.  I feel as if I could almost touch it!  The ornate saddle on this horse is also beautiful, as is the intricately-worked chain mail worn by the knight mounted on the horse.  The green of his tunic, with the fleur-de-lis pattern, and that royal blue handkerchief attached to his helmet (probably belonging to the princess crying in the background) -- all these things are so exquisitely depicted! 
The castle in the background is absolutely enchanting!  It sits on top of a low hill, standing out against a glorious light blue sky filled with cottony clouds.  The light is handled masterfully in this painting.  It flows all over the picture, reflecting off the green knight's shield, his saddle, glinting off his chain mail, and highlighting certain parts of the red cloth.  If I look at this painting long enough, I start to feel as though I'm in the scene, watching the knights do battle.  It's a sunny afternoon, in spite of the clouds.  The bright mood of the painting contrasts sharply with the violence about to take place. 

Interestingly, the second horse is barely visible.  Only his nose peeks out from behind the green knight, whose own horse is rolling his eye backward, and the white of the eyeball is visible.  This heightens the realism of the scene, and tells the viewer that the horse is frightened.
The two swords are poised in mid-air, ready to strike.  This is a very cinematic effect, which is incredible, because this painting was created when the film industry was very much in its infancy.  Obviously, Wyeth was a brilliant illustrator (as well as painter) with an uncanny eye for composition! 
The title of the book is done in a classical font, which is enclosed by a very simple frame.  This works quite well; a more ornate font and/or frame would have distracted the viewer from the picture itself.
This is one of my most treasured books!  There are equally beautiful illustrations inside, also in full color.  The pages are deckle-edged.  I just love to sit with this book in my lap and lovingly, slowly, turn the pages, while I sigh in utter bliss...

This is the actual edition I own.
It was published in 1989.
I used a picture of the 1917 edition above
because I was able to enlarge it,
and thus show more detail.
This second picture looks blurry
when enlarged.

The artist:
(October 22, 1882 - October 19, 1945)
From the Wikipedia Article
N.C. Wyeth, was an American artist and illustrator. He was the pupil of artist Howard Pyle and became one of America's greatest illustrators.  During his lifetime, Wyeth created over 3,000 paintings and illustrated 112 books, 25 of them for Scribner's, the Scribner Classics, which is the work for which he is best-known.  The first of these, Treasure Island, was his masterpiece and the proceeds paid for his studio. Wyeth was a realist painter just as the camera and photography began to compete with his craft.  Sometimes seen as melodramatic, his illustrations were designed to be understood quickly.  Wyeth, who was both a painter and an illustrator, understood the difference, and said in 1908, "Painting and illustration cannot be mixed—one cannot merge from one into the other."
For further information:
What do you think of my choice?
What beautiful covers are you
featuring this week?


  1. Another great cover Maria!

    Though more knowledge of art history is sketchy at best, to my untrained eye this really has a Medieval feel to it.

  2. Hey, Brian!

    Oh, definitely! I wish I had a poster of this gorgeous cover to hang in my living room...

    Thanks for the comment!! : )

  3. Interesting pick, I like King Arthur as well, They certainly don't make books with this kind of presentation any more, heavy thick binding, gold lettering color etc, Now they are shiny and flashy. Always interesting to see your picks! I have all the info up on my blog for Fire and Ice and a pic of my niece because .i know you were wanting both! Have a great week!


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