Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Salomon van Abbé illustrates Tanglewood Tales


I am sure that the Childrens' Illustrated Classics series published by Dent Dutton in the 1950s and 60s must have featured here before but I'm blowed if I can find it. They are great books: solidly octavo and dustjacketed and illustrated throughout in both colour and black and white. These illustrations are from a 1960s reprint of Nathaniel Hawthorne's Tanglewood Tales by Salomon van Abbé (1883-1955). He and his brother Joseph (who later styled himself Joseph Abbey and was for a while the editor of Chums in the 30s) were both sons of an Amsterdam diamond dealer. The whole family moved to England when Salomon was just a small boy. He is well known for his fine dry-point etchings of the legal profession but was also prolific working on books as an illustrator and a designer of jackets. He worked for a number of publishers which led to him having to adopt a pseudonym for work with Herbert Jenkins, one of whose rivals was unhappy he was working with them too.

The illustrations for the Tanglewood Tales are typical of Abbé's work. Here we have Jason, Orpheus, Cadmus, Theseus and, of course, the Minotaur (although perhaps imagined in a somewhat diminished way). Both the colour plates and the black and white illustrations have a certain appeal.











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