Sunday, March 5, 2017

Shelf Candy Saturday No. 205: Edmund Dulac's Fairy Book, by Edmund Dulac

Welcome to Shelf Candy Saturday!

***Late Edition***
This is my weekly feature
showcasing beautiful covers!
It also provides information, 
if available, on their 
very talented creators!

Here's my choice for this week!

Edmund Dulac's Fairy Book
 Edmund Dulac
Hardcover, 174  pages
Portland House
December 14, 1988

My Thoughts About This Cover

Incredibly, I have never previously posted anything about this brilliant illustrator. How could I possibly have missed him? Thankfully, I came across this GORGEOUS cover while researching possible book covers to feature for "Shelf Candy Saturday".

This book is a collection of fairy tales from around the world, compiled and illustrated by Dulac.  

This cover is actually exquisite. I love everything about it! It clearly shows the influence of both Art Deco and Art Nouveau. It also has clear mythological influences, through the image of the horses, which remind me of both Pegasus and unicorns, even though they have neither wings nor horns.

The ornate spiral designs on each side of the cover are strikingly beautiful, and echo both plant forms, and geometric forms. They are repeated in the beautiful horses' manes, too.

I love that one horse is facing in one direction, and the other, in the opposite direction. It's as if they want to encompass the entire world in their flight across a starlit sky, although, again, neither one has wings.

This design is unique in that there's a column down the middle of it, in which the horses fly across the sky, and the book's title is displayed. Not that I've never seen this type of thing before, but most likely it was Dulac who pioneered it.

I love the background color of this cover, too. I'm not sure whether the cover actually is this color, or whether it looks this way because of the lighting used when the photo was taken. Either way, I think it looks lovely! It reminds me of burnished gold.

The font is a lovely calligraphy with an obvious Art Deco influence. The spirals on the two sides of the cover are repeated in several of the letters. In fact, it's the repetition of the spiral pattern all over the cover that gives the design such a satisfyingly unified look.

I didn't know much about this artist before finding this cover, although I had heard the name somewhere before. For some reason, I had been under the impression that he was a 19th-century artist. Perhaps that's because of his style, which so strongly reflects the influence of the Art Nouveau movement, although it also has very original elements.

It turns out that Dulac was actually a 20th-century artist, although he was born toward the end of the 19th century -- on October 22, 1882. He was born in Toulouse, France, but moved to London, England in 1904. He became a naturalized British citizen in 1912.

Dulac created covers for many classics, such as Jane Eyre, Stories from the Arabian Nights, Shakespeare's The Tempest, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, The Sleeping Beauty and Other Fairy Tales, and Stories From Hans Christian Andersen. He later created the cover for this, his own compilation of fairy tales. I'm not sure whether or not he actually wrote these tales, with information he had gathered himself, or whether they were already written, and he just collected them. It really doesn't matter. The important thing is that he designed this cover, which I totally love!!

Dulac also designed postage stamps for Great Britain, as well as for France and Poland.

Needless to say, this artist has now been added to my growing collection of brilliant cover illustrators and designers!  

Online Links


What do you think of this 
week's cover?
Please leave a comment
and let me know!


  1. In also love this cover. All the influences that you mention meld together so seamlessly.

    I agree that the horses are so distinctive. One might think, without seeing the picture, that such large manes would be overdone. Instead they add grandeur to the image.

    Once again we see what an artist can do with just two colors.

    Have a great Sunday Maria.

    1. Hey, Brian!

      I'm glad you love this cover, too! It really is a very striking one! And yes, all the influences come together perfectly!

      I love, love, love those horses!!! Of course, horses are my favorite animals, so it's not surprising that I would be attracted to a cover depicting them. Not all cover artists have nice depictions of horses. On this cover, it's the manes -- and the tails, although to a lesser extent -- that capture the reader's attention.

      You're right -- with just two colors, Dulac has created an absolutely STUNNING cover!!

      Thanks for the super nice comment!! Yesterday was great, as I got to go to Barnes & Noble! (And of course I bought a book, Enjoy your week!! :) :) :)


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