Sunday, February 3, 2013

Harry Clarke Illustrations

I started to read Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales again. The copy I'm reading comes with Harry Clarke's fantastic illustrations in black-and-white. According to his biography, he was commissioned the work in 1913. It was his first commission as an illustrator. I wanted to see the original water colors in detail. I've found them on the National Gallery of Ireland site. The color images are superb. The colors are so bright and vivid, it's hard to believe that the originals are a hundred years old. The National Gallery also published a commemorative calendar for this year. 

Need I say that some of my favorite illustrations are the ones showing beautiful dresses? Like the one the princess from The Wilde Swans is wearing while being carried by her eleven brothers across the sea. It's a grayish-blue maxi dress with yellow butterfly pattern. It must be her regular daily outfit worn at the castle not something suitable for surviving in a forest. Another favorite one depicts three flying red-heads from The Elf-hill. Their dresses are shaped like giant petals. They are so lose as if were made for floating and dancing in the air.


  1. Ah, Hans Christian Andersen - I think I had to grow up to fully appreciate his tales. I memorized "The Ugly Duckling" and the story about the daisy for my storytelling class about a year ago. They are beautiful, strange, sad tales that are universal yet so personal.
    The illustrations are gorgeous! I love the ornamentation. The maxi dress with butterflies reminds me of a kimono because of the wide sash at the waist.

    1. It does remind me a kimono, too. It's so graceful.