One of Dalziell's mighty gift book, 19 x 27 cms, 822 pp., and in all copies I have seen, foxed. It has a decorative exotic binding, perhaps by John Leighton. The illustrations are in a narrow way impressive, and Houghton's contributions among the 'eminent artists' are the most competent (Morten, Pinwell etc). There is throughout the book a pervading sense of claustrophobia and suppressed passion. Houghton follows the norm in full length figures in vague polite accommodation with each other but, every now and then, as he has shown elsewhere, can come up with the unexpected composition (E3, and partuicularly C2).
The overall standard of composition is competent and after 800 pages, bordering on the monotonous. The fantastic posibilities of the Tales are largely overlooked, and the invention of monsters and djinn is of a low standard.
His drawing skills are self-evident - always one for sturdy calf muscles - his figures so often are shown carrying burdens- oppressed by something beyond. The extent of his hatching often precludes a delicacy, or exotic Oriental evocation. No bad thing. The illustrations are curiously absent in any sense of place apart form the whiff of the Victoria and Albert Museum.
D1 is an odd concept, studying the action underwater. and E3 is a most unusual open-marked page without the usual restraining walls and the conventional vanishing points. Two cheers limply for ABH.
|FINDING A RELIC, London Opinion 1862|