Edmund Dulac And The Golden Age

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Edmund Dulac was a prominent artist from the Golden Age of Illustration. Born in Toulouse in 1882, Dulac moved to England at the age of 20 where he spent most of his career. Since his first commission his career flourished and he was in tremendous demand from publishers. Dulac is best known for his enchanting illustrations of fairy tales and children’s stories, his most famous works include illustrations for The Arabian Nights, Sleeping Beauty and Stories from Hans Christen Anderson. (Davies, 2013)

Dulac moved to London because of the publishing opportunities and began work as an illustrator in the new genre of illustrated gift books. The industry of deluxe book publishing was thriving and the collection and possession of these was a sign of affluence and taste in the time between 1905 and World War I. (Rosenkrantz, 2010) He began his career just as the new technology of colour separation was making the printing of colour book plates possible. With the introduction of the Three Colour or Trichromatic process, the technical means were available to faithfully reproduce and distribute images. (Parker, 2006) Dulac was drawn towards these advances in printing technology which provided inspiration and opportunity for him and he could experience the best form of printing England had to offer. (Upson, 2012)

He had the technical means available for him and influences of the works of other illustrators at the time. For many of his early works Dulac started with a new and more accurate process which allowed him to work without the ink lines and he worked mainly in watercolor and gouache. He continued to use outlines to fit the expectations of the market rather than as a technical limitation. (Parker, 2006) His images have been described ...

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...nt on to produce theatrical posters, costume and set designs, portraits, bookplates, medals and chocolate boxes, the type of work which dominated the last 20 years of his life.

Dulac illustrated some of the greatest and most well-known stories, from “Jane Eyre” to “The Tempest” and his worked ranged from posters, books and magazines to postage stamps and banknotes. The significance of his work is evident as his part in the Golden Age of Illustration, an influence which resonates today in film, design and modern storytelling. (Upson, 2012) He is an example of an Illustrator working within a constantly evolving industry, who remained recognizable in his varying styles and areas of work. Dulac was described by Richard Dorment as "the last truly romantic artist, whose gorgeously decorative style encompassed both orientalism and the Rococo revival" (Telegraph, 2007)
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