Illustrations Art Gallery

Edmund Dulac – Illustrations from The Tempest 1908

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Edmund Dulac (born Edmond Dulac; 1882 –  1953) was a French-born, British naturalised magazine illustrator, book illustrator and stamp designer.

Dulac was a prolific illustrator and designer. His works include Stories from The Arabian Nights (1907) with 50 colour plates; an edition of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest (1908) with 40 colour illustrations; The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1909) with 20 colour plates; The Sleeping Beauty and Other Fairy Tales (1910); Stories from Hans Christian Andersen (1911); The Bells and Other Poems by Edgar Allan Poe (1912) with 28 colour plates and many monotone illustrations, Princess Badoura (1913) and many others.

The Tempest is a play by William Shakespeare, probably written in 1610–1611, and thought to be one of the last plays that Shakespeare wrote alone. After the first scene, which takes place on a ship at sea during a tempest, the rest of the story is set on a remote island, where the sorcerer Prospero, a complex and contradictory character, lives with his daughter Miranda, and his two servants—Caliban, a savage monster figure, and Ariel, an airy spirit.

The play contains music and songs that evoke the spirit of enchantment on the island. It explores many themes, including magic, betrayal, revenge, and family. In Act IV, a wedding masque serves as a play-within-the play, and contributes spectacle, allegory, and elevated language.

Though The Tempest is listed in the First Folio as the first of Shakespeare’s comedies, it deals with both tragic and comic themes, and modern criticism has created a category of romance for this and others of Shakespeare’s late plays. The Tempest has been put to varied interpretations—from those that see it as a fable of art and creation, with Prospero representing Shakespeare, and Prospero’s renunciation of magic signaling Shakespeare’s farewell to the stage, to interpretations that consider it an allegory of Europeans colonizing foreign lands.

Presenting the illustrations  from the First edition of The Tempest. Published by Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1908.

Other books illustrated by Edmund Dulac available in our gallery: Stories from the Arabian NightsLyrics, Pathetic and Humourous from A to Z, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, The Sleeping Beauty, Stories from Hans Andersen, The Bells, and other poems, Princess Badoura, Sindbad the Sailor and other stories, The Kingdom of the Pearl.

Art Gallery: Edmund Dulac – The Tempest 1908

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