Inspiration From Durer

My post “Undine” (Illustrated by Arthur Rackham) contains the Encyclopaedia Britannica entry on the author Friedrich de La Motte Fouqué, whose

I finished reading last night. The author’s name appears on the spine, as does similar decoration, but as quite often in this golden age of book illustration the artist is given pride of place on this front board, still glowing after the 112 years since the publication of 1908.

The Durer engraving on the frontispiece is the work which inspired the author’s tale from the days of knightly gestes.

This somewhat Gothic romance can be read at the level of an adventure story of a young Knight’s search for himself or of the conflict between saintly Christianity and pagan passion personified by Sintram’s parted parents. The author’s descriptive poetic prose ensures an easy read. A. C. Farquharson’s fluid translation must have contributed to this. As usual I will not give details of the story.

Wikipedia describes “Edmund Joseph Sullivan (1869–1933), usually known as E. J. Sullivan, [w]as a British book illustrator who worked in a style which merged the British tradition of illustration from the 1860s with aspects of Art Nouveau.”

Here are scans of his exquisite traditional drawings for this book.

Nick Hayter, who is to start decorating for us next week, visited to check over details. This was necessary because he was due to begin in March before Covid-19 lockdown forced him to stop working for some time.

This afternoon, enticed by the clear blue light, Jackie photographed

the Weeping Birch;

and another cobaea scandens.

This evening Elizabeth joined us for dinner which consisted of Jackie’s perfect pork paprika; creamy potato and swede mash; roasted sweet potatoes; and crunchy carrots, followed by aromatic apple pie and cream. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while Elizabeth and I finished the Malbec.


  1. It’s rare to see such good drawing skills these days.
    We have some quite heavy rain the past to evenings. It sound like and ocean had been dropped on us but the new drainage has done it’s job.
    Pork paprika sounds good Jackie. Another recipe I wouldn’t mind trying. 🙂

          1. With the deletion of mushrooms of which Norm detests, I manage to find all ingredients. Tonight I gave it ago.
            Norm’s response “yum, yum yum”. I think we have a favorite. 🙂

  2. The illustrations in that book are beautifully done, Derrick. And I loved the photos of your October blue skies and colorful foliage and flowers.!
    It was 24 degrees here this morning. a bit cold for this time of year.

  3. A beautiful book and illustrations, like the cobaea scandens. Jackie must have been reading my mind, because I have been wanting a closer look at the weeping birch. Her photos are breathtaking!

  4. Fabulous illustrations—full of vivid life. I always enjoy seeing branches and leaves against a blue sky. Lucky is the person who is invited to your house for dinner.

  5. These illustrations are beautiful and capture me into the scenes!
    Jackie’s photos of the weeping birch are so amazing! It’s like nature’s drapery made from beautiful leaves! 🙂
    HUGS!!! 🙂

  6. Elaborate Illustrations such as those are precursors to what we have come to know as graphic fiction. The unusual angles of the photographs produced by Jackie have given a rare presence to the autumnal canopies.

  7. Those illustrations are exceptional. What a story it must be, seemingly dark and dramatic, from the illustrations. I admit it was a relief to step into the sunshine and look up into the trees. What are you having the place decorated for?

    1. You summed up the story so well, Crystal. We have been in the house for seven years and are slowly working our way through putting right the previous owners’ desecrations. The kitchen and sitting room are well overdue e.g. good coats of paint and removal of a dado rail masquerading as a picture rail. Thanks very much.

  8. I don’t know this one, but I re-read Undine only a couple of weeks ago and it lingered with me. Love the cobaea scandens – flower and picture. 🙂

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