Saturday, July 25, 2009

Artful Rendering

From back in the stone age of the 1970s, another artful rendering by Stephen Fabian.

Ursula Andress as "She" by H. Rider Hagard


Daniel [] said...

A beautiful idealization of Andress and of the Hammer picture, though that's pretty far removed from Haggard description of Ayesha.

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

In your experience and estimation, was there ever a really beautiful or definitive illustrated edition of Haggard?

Daniel [] said...

Definitive, no. Beautiful, certainly.

To fit the stories, Ayesha would be an Arab with snow-white skin, black hair, and nearly black irises. Ideally, she'd fit both Victorian notions of over-whelming beauty and more “timeless” standards as well.

Not-withstanding their failure to actually fit the story, there have been some depictions that are true beautiful. Although Edward K. Johnson's illustrations for the original syndication are mostly pedestrian, they occasionally have their moments. Some of Maurice Greiffenhagen's illustrations for the “deluxe” edition, and then for the first sequel, are great. (The other artist for the “deluxe”, Charles Kerr, did not do a commendable job.)

Personally, I find it interesting (if not exactly surprising) to see how the prevailing artistic fashions of various periods have affected the depictions of this character. Perhaps my favorite depiction is that by Greiffenhagen for an Art Nouveau postcard promoting that first sequel. I'll see whether I can find a scan that I did of that. (It's fairly valuable, and now in a protective slab.)

(D_mn'd shame that no one commissioned Pogany to do a set in the '20s or '30s!)

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

Pogany would have been a dream, so too Frazetta in his heyday. If you have that scan, I would love to see it.

Daniel [] said...

Frazetta could have done a depiction that would stand indefinitely as definitive. Pogany's depiction in the '20s or '30s would have been more of-that-time, but that would have been part of its charm for me.

The postcard image is very much of its time. I found a reduction of my scan in my e.mail archives, and have placed that in my 'blog's media archive. I have a much larger version of the scan on a cantankerous old computer, but I'd have to move some heavy boxes (of vintage phones) to get to that right now.

OT: I have a postcard with a nice architectural drawing of the Kitt Peak Observatory, which card I will send to you if you want it.

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

Great. That postcard image of Ayesha is really nice. Thanks for linking it.

You know I was thinking of who could be a really good illustrator for Haggard that is alive and working right now. I'm thinking Michael Kaluta. I think his work would be definitive AND beautiful.

Yes I would love to see the Kitt Peak or any interesting vintage scans. Thanks!

Daniel [] said...

I'm not sure about Kaluta as a choice. Ayesha needs to come across as preternaturally beautiful — literally irresistable. But perhaps Kaluta could do it. He's certainly done some astonishing work in the past.

Right now, my scanner is hooked-up to that cantankerous computer behind the boxes of phones. I'd just stick the postcard itself in an envelope and mail it to you if you sent an address to me at Mc_Kiernan@[my domain]. The image, BTW, is indeed vintage, but the card is new and unused.

Daniel [] said...

Ever since you suggested Kaluta, I have looked at his work wondering about the possibility. And the more that I have looked with this question in mind, the more that I have been inclined to agree with you.