Saturday, April 24, 2010
John Austen's Fairie Queen Design Completed by Agnes Miller Parker
John Austen was a carpenter turned prolific illustrator, and one of the most favored by the Limited Editions Club. While living in Kent, he brought his idea to the LEC directors, for an edition of Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queen. He would draw a series of illustrations, which would be turned into wood engravings. The works would resemble the story-telling tapestries of Elizabethan times. While the Nazis fought the British overhead, Austen embarked on the project, drawing sample pages, headings and drawings. As he began to work on the wood engravings, he started to lose the use of his right arm, and then the use of all his muscles. He died in 1948.
Agnes Miller Parker, a wood engraver and friend of John Austen, finished the project. The results are lovely -- detailed patterns and rich textures. Top illustration is King Arthur.
Britomart, the courageous lady knight
The Redcrosse Knight and the Dragon
The Heritage Press version of this book is currently available.