Stephen and I have been having a great discussion on email about ideas for the cover of the graphic novel. Since the story kicks off at 1899 I thought it would be great if we could have a nod towards the marvellous fin de siècle movement, and in particular Art Nouveau.

I sent him images from artists like Aubrey Beardsley and Alphonse Mucha, and he replied with work by Arthur Rackham and Irish artist Harry Clarke.

Ligeia by Harry Clarke

I was delighted to be reminded of Harry Clarke’s fantastic artwork, in particular his illustrations of Edgar Allan Poe‘s stories in the collection Tales of Mystery and Imagination.

The pieces were familiar, and stirred a faded childhood memory of me reading a copy of the book and loving the artwork. I’m pretty sure it was at the guest house my family used to stay in during our annual holiday. Being Ireland, the weather was often inclement, and there was a small library of musty books for when a storm kept us from the beach or the playground. I would curl up by a window seat, the rain hammering against the big window with the Atlantic roaring in the distance, and read Grimm’s fairy tales and Poe’s horror stories.

My abiding interest in weird and scary fiction was firmly established by these experiences, and even then I valued the way the artist could illuminate a passage from a story and give it an extra dimension within my imagination.

Clarke is a artist whose work still seems utterly modern, despite a century of changes. I’ve been fortunate to see some of his stained glass work, and they are outstanding. He is one of Ireland’s great artists.


About Maura McHugh

I'm a weird writer who lives in Galway, Ireland.

Posted on December 1, 2009, in background and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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