9 January 2017

nineweaving: (Default)
A conversation with [personal profile] rushthatspeaks sent me back to re-read Gwen Raverat's Period Piece for the thirty-fifth or so time. It's one of my heart's-core collection of memoirs of quirky intellectual English families:  the Darwins here, the Knoxes, the Farjeons.  You want to seize people and read passages aloud.  Part of the intrinsic joy of Raverat's book are her wood-engravings.  I love them, as I love her illustrations of offbeat Victorian children's books:  Charlotte Yonge's Countess Kate (the sudden inheritrix of that title is hopelessly unladylike: farouche and over-ardent) and Elizabeth Anna Hart's The Runaway, with its fabulous madcap. Here's Olga, hiding in the shrubbery:

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I'd seen and admired some of Raverat's wonderful engravings of landscapes, and of work in landscapes: shepherds and harvesters, but I'd never thought to look deeper—and my heavens! Ballads, fairy-tales, and myths!

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I'll do as much for my true love as any young girl may,
I'll dance and sing all on his grave for a twelve month and a day.


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The rain beats at my yellow locks, the dew wets me still,
The babe is cold in my arms, love, Lord Gregory let me in.


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And stood at his bed feet...

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Oer his white banes, whan they are bare,
The wind sall blaw for evermair.


There are witches...

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...good folk...

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...mermaids...

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There's Death as co-author (a frontispiece for an edition of Sir Thomas Browne):

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There's a Daphnis that makes me desperately wish she could have done my crow lad:

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And a "Child-Stealers" that is wilder and eerier than the poem it illustrates:

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Alas, most of what's for sale are real prints not reproductions, but the gallery's online.  Enjoy!

Nine

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