Monday, February 27, 2012
Book Bounty: Pauline Baynes
(I got my income tax return a couple of weeks ago and got a batch of books, many of which I've had my eye on for quite a while. I intend to go over them during the next week, to list and briefly discuss them.)
Pauline Baynes is most famous for illustrating C. S. Lewis' Narnia books and several short works by J. R. R. Tolkien, but her prolific and distinctive talent did so much more over the years. I bought four more of the books she illustrated, and show here samples from each.
The Dragon of Og (1981), by Rumer Godden, is based on a legend of the Scottish lowlands, and reads like a combination of The Reluctant Dragon and Farmer Giles of Ham. I love Baynes' dragons, and there is an ample showcase for her draconian style here.
The Isle of Gramarye (1970), an anthology of the poetry of magic, edited by Jennifer Westwood. Of particular interest to me was the illustration for J. R. R. Tolkien's Errantry, showing his "merry passenger" fighting giant bees; also the pictures of the Great Selkie od Skule Skerry and Thomas Rhymer meeting the Queen of Faerie.
A Dictionary of Chivalry (1968), by Grant Uden. This is a copy of a book we had in our own public library that I always wanted to delve into, but because it was filed as a reference book it could not be checked out. Which was a shame, because it is a lovely browsing book; many of the entries are like tiny short stories. Every one of its 379 pages has illustrations by Pauline Baynes, many time multiples to a page, illuminating details that bring the age alive. Pictures from here include Arthur drawing the sword from the stone amidst many animals, Sir Thomas Malory in prison, and Blondin the minstrel.
A Family Book of Nursery Rhymes (1964) by Iona and Peter Opie, is another book full of pictures by Baynes, tiny little gems scattered all over the pages, ranging in style from Medieval to Eighteenth Century.