Monday, April 25, 2011

Horns of Elfland

Bernard Sleigh, the artist who was 28 when he created this fabulous chiaroscuro woodcut, came to have a strong belief in the reality of faerie in his later life. Having created a number of prints for literary and artistic books and magazines, he produced three volumes of engraved faerie subjects. I have not seen those volumes, and I would dearly love to.

This print evokes for me the atmosphere of Middle Earth, like a blend of the Shire and Rivendell, and for all we know may have inspired JRR Tolkien's imagination, who would have been eight years old when this was published. Note the details of dragon and marching troops. And don't forget to notice the miniscule fairy sprites and the distant water sirens.

Bernard Sleigh —The Horns of Elfland Faintly Blowing — 1900

"O! Hark O! Hear! How Thin & Clear
& Thinner Clearer Farther Going:
O! Sweet & Far From Cliff & Scar
The Horns of Elfland Faintly Blowing"


Larry MacDougall said...

Fabulous ! Is there a more difficult way to make a picture than a woodcut ?

Annie said...

It's a beautiful, detailed print. I love the dragon, flowing like a river.