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Doré's Illustrations for "Idylls of the King" (Dover Fine Art, History of Art) Paperback – June 23, 1995
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From the Back Cover
Like his contemporary, the English poet laureate Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Gustave Doré (1832–83) was highly regarded for his mastery of technique. One of the most prolific and successful book illustrators of the late nineteenth century, he provided a wealth of hauntingly beautiful illustrations for the first four parts of Idylls of the King, Tennyson's classic poetic treatment of the Arthurian legends. This volume contains meticulous reproductions of all 36 plates from rare English editions published in 1867–69.
Like many of his other works, Doré's illustrations for the Idylls possess great drama, detail, and power, overlaid with a melancholy, otherworldly mood. His masterly technique is abundantly evident in splendid, idealized scenes illustrating the romantic involvements of four lovely ladies: "the fair Elaine," much enamored of Lancelot; Guinevere, Arthur's perfidious queen; Enid, the wife of Geraint, one of Arthur's knights; and the "wily Vivien," a scheming beauty who attempts to seduce the wizard Merlin.
Accompanied by synopses and appropriate quotations from Tennyson's poem, Doré's illustrations bring these marvelous legends to vivid life.
Dover (1995) republication of all 36 plates from Enid, Elaine, Vivien and Guinevere, published by Edward Moxon and Co., London, 1867–69.
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Top Customer Reviews
I have long admired the eight Dore prints that it contained for the Idylls. These prints measure 8.5 by 11 cm or just under 3.5 by 4 inches.
The tone of the original prints is wonderfully sombre.
I am disappointed by the Dover reproductions. In my view scaling the works up to 19.9 by 26 cm has completely destroyed the tonal character when compared to those in my 19th century edition. I stress, the tonal character has been altered for the worse. They now look rather washed out. I cannot understand another reviewer's viewpoint that the prints in the Dover edition look too dark. In addition, the scaling has introduced engraving detail that detracts from the images, an analogy is enlarging a digital picture until the individual pixels become apparent, it does the original conception no good at all. Presumably (I'm no printing industry expert) the prints on the 1884 edition are the originally intended size and Dore engraved with a certain level of detail in mind as they certainly work well at that scale.
I am however very grateful to have the complete set. I had planned to use this edition to have them framed.
Alas no, they will have to be further scanned and then reduced in size, hopefully I'll be able to recapture the original intent.
Each illustration is preceded by a page of introductory text and a quotation from the Idyll so that you can understand the illustration without having the complete Idyll before you, or indeed without having read the Idyll. The text and selected quotations are so appropriate that, reading them in sequence, you get a feel for or synopsis of the entire Idyll and the story it tells, though, of course, the Idylls themselves are more intricate and detailed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I already own a series of the Dore art books (printed by the same publishers) and love the art that accompanies the stories. Read morePublished on January 7, 2014 by Joshua-Paul Johnian
I purchased Dore's illustrations for Idylls of the King and it is an exceptional book of his work. I love it and recommend the book to others who enjoys Dore's artwork.Published on June 2, 2013 by Barb Johnson
OK, I'm that person who never pays more then I have too for a book version of anything. So when I ordered this $15 version rather then the mass market $4 one, I was VERY... Read morePublished on October 31, 2007 by Browyn Brough