Edgar Allan Poe’s tales of horror and wonder have inspired the more morbid among us for generations, including some exceptional illustrators from days gone by. From his most prolific publishing days in the 1830s and 40s to the present, dozens—maybe hundreds—of illustrators have sought to capture the ghastly dread that characterized his short stories and novels.
Here, for your edification, are fascinating Poe illustrations by five of the illustrators whose work appeared in historical editions of the writer’s work:
Édouard Manet (1832 – 1883)
Most people who have any passing familiarity with the art world are familiar with Édouard Manet, but many may not know that the painter, who played a critical role in the transition from Realism to Impressionism, created these beautiful lithographs for an 1875 French edition of “The Raven.”
Gustave Doré (1832 – 1883)
French artist, printmaker, illustrator and sculptor Gustave Doré also created several hauntingly beautiful steel-plate engravings for a special edition of “The Raven” published in English in 1883.
Arthur Rackham (1867 – 1939)
Rackham is recognized as one of the leading illustrators from the ‘Golden Age’ of British book illustration. His illustrations for Poe’s work included beautiful work for “The Oval Portrait,” “The Tell-Tale Heart” and Tales of Mystery and Imagination. His other well-known works included illustrations for Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Peter Pan, The Wind in the Willows and later editions of Shakespeare’s plays.
Aubrey Beardsley (1872 – 1898)
An illustrator and author, Beardsley was famed for his often grotesque and even erotic illustrations, which drew influence from traditional Japanese woodcuts. His illustrations for Poe compendiums and short stories including Short Stories by Edgar Allan Poe and The Murders in the Rue Morgue—among them an iconic depiction of Poe himself—represent a very different aesthetic from the works of his predecessors.
Harry Clarke (1889 – 1931)
Clarke, one of the best-known creators of Poe illustrations, was also a talented stained glass artist, a skill that is apparent in these enthralling illustrations for a 1923 edition of Tales of Mystery and Imagination.
Learn more about illustration in these helpful courses from HOW Design University: