Sunday Images: Edmund Dulac

Illustration by Edmund Dulac

One thing that is helping me to create this project on a shoestring is the fact that there are so many public domain illustrations available.

The Arabian Nights has been popular since the nineteenth century, and so there have been many translations and editions of the text(s), and thus many illustrations too.

I’ve decided to present some here. Each week, I will pick a different illustrator and post a gallery of their images.

This week: Edmund Dulac (1882-1953).

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One issue with these images, and probably the others that I will post in the coming weeks, is that of ‘Orientalism’ — the distortion of Eastern cultures in their depiction by Western artists.

I suppose that these pictures could contribute to that problem. But the issue is complicated in the case of The Arabian Nights, which is itself an amalgam of many disparate cultures. The stories within are not a depiction of any real tradition (even those which feature historical people like caliph Harun al-Rashid). I leave it up to the individual to make up their own mind.