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Maidens, Monsters and Heroes: The Fantasy Illustrations of H. J. Ford

Maidens, Monsters and Heroes: The Fantasy Illustrations of H. J. Ford


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Henry Justice Ford is best known for his collaboration with Andrew Lang on a popular series of twelve "Color" fairy tale books published at the turn of the twentieth century. The artist and the folklorist also worked together on books with settings ranging from the Middle Ages through the eighteenth century, including The Red Book of Animal Stories and The Book of Saints and Heroes. Ford’s other works include The Book of Princes and Princesses, Old Testament Legends, The Book of the Happy Warrior, The Arabian Nights Entertainments, and Pilgrim’s Progress.
Editor and graphic artist Jeff A. Menges, who provides an informative commentary, assembled this dazzling gallery of Ford’s heroes, supernatural creatures, saints, and historic figures. Half of the compilation’s images appear here in the rare full-color formats of their original publication. Art lovers and book collectors alike will rejoice in this treasury of imaginative illustrations.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780486472904
Publisher: Dover Publications
Publication date: 04/21/2010
Series: Dover Fine Art, History of Art Series
Pages: 128
Product dimensions: 8.30(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

In addition to his collaborations with Andrew Lang, Henry Justice Ford (1860–1941) illustrated such classics as The Arabian Nights, Tales of King Arthur, and Aesop's Fables.
Dover cover design artist Jeff A. Menges has created illustrated books highlighting the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Rackham, Howard Pyle, and others.

Read an Excerpt

Maidens, Monsters and Heroes

The Fantasy Illustrations of H.J. Ford

By Jeff A. Menges

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 2010 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-13979-1


Early Line Work

In the original "Blue" book of Andrew Lang's fairy series, the work done by H. J. Ford was competent and capable, but Ford had not yet defined a signature style. While the stories were fantastic and full of magic, Ford's earliest illustrations were typical of the period. The artwork that Lang's books required was daunting—the books averaged one hundred drawings per volume, and while the first two volumes featured two illustrators, Ford took on the remaining volumes alone. While not every image filled a full page, most did, and many were extremely complex. Horses, multiple figures, period and regional dress and armor—all became the necessary ingredients for the illustrations in the books that Lang produced. Ford became very good at assembling imagery that contained both the reference of real history and the wildest imaginings. By the fourth volume, the Yellow Fairy Book, Ford's work had developed a character of its own—complex and defined—and his inking had become masterful. He developed an excellent sense of how values and textures could be used to move the viewer around the image.


The Addition of Color

In the late nineteenth century, color lithographic printing had begun to appear in commercial markets. When it was first used in book printing, it appeared as flat expanses of color filling in heavy line, similar to screen-printing. The public's interest in color drove the industry to rapid improvements, and, by 1900, full-color images could be reproduced with a fair degree of accuracy.

At this time, Lang's "Color" fairy books were extremely popular, and in the middle of what would be their twenty-plus-year run. H. J. Ford was first given the opportunity to produce color pieces in 1901 for The Violet Fairy Book. Not unlike his early inks, the color work in his earliest attempts show some experimentation. He preferred watercolor as a medium, and in most cases his original works are similar in size to the hundreds of ink works he had been producing for years. His most ambitious color illustrations may have been the works done in 1916 for Introduction to American History. These pieces have much of the storytelling ability that Ford's best ink pieces maintain, while taking advantage of color to set a mood.


Excerpted from Maidens, Monsters and Heroes by Jeff A. Menges. Copyright © 2010 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Title Page,
Copyright Page,
Part I: Early Line Work,
Part II: The Addition of Color,

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