Monday, 28 March 2011

Mervyn Peake : Writer and Illustrator

Mervyn Peake (1911-1968), most famous for his Gormenghast Trilogy, was also a fantastic illustrator. This year is his centenary, celebrated by his son through a series of publications as well as events. All his characters are so clearly defined that they become part of the mental images you have when reading the book.

Irma from the Trilogy
Swelter from the Trilogy
The best thing to come out of this (in my opinion) is his publication of Peake's works with their original sketches and illustrations. I always wonder why it's so 'not done' to have adult fiction with accompanying illustrations. For some reasons it's left solely to children's books, the odd chapter heading and reference books. However, here for once it is being changed.

The new book available for pre-order here

Another addition to my summer reading list will be Peake's Progress also available for pre-order here.
All the illustrations, which have never been published before, will be in the new books! Through the main website and the blog you can see various events, mostly based in London or Chichester, where there is the opportunity to see the originals. I have added a few to my 'Events' tab above!

Life In Death
The Ancient Mariner
Peake also did countless other illustrations: Alice in Wonderland, Nonsense Poetry, some Dickens, war art, etc. I really want to see his war art exhibition at the National Archives this summer when it starts. 

Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland

Websites for further interest:
Official website:

Just seen ANOTHER book I want!! (I'm not being sponsored I promise!!!)
Looks like I'll be seeing a lot of Mervyn Peake this year...!

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