16 Feb 2013


I have been adding more cards to my card shop page.  Some of the images have a story to tell...

I drew this a while ago, it was a commission for a lovely lady in Germany called Brigitta Lizinski who asked for an edition of 50 exlibris prints of the theme of Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray.

I'll write about exlibris in another post but, briefly, an exlibris is a label of ownership pasted inside the front cover of a book.  This was something that started centuries ago when books were highly valued and was usually in the form of the owners coat of arms.  In later centuries the images became more pictorial and by the late nineteenth and early twentieth century they became a collectable thing in their own right.  A collector commissions artists to produce editions of prints, and whilst these are still sometimes pasted into books, there main function is to be exchanged with other collectors, thereby amassing a collection of miniature artwork.  Exchange meetings are held around the world and exchanging is fast and furious with some collectors owning many thousands of prints.

Back to Dorian Gray, Brigitta is a collector of exlibris with a literary theme and she has a love of Oscar Wilde.  I had to re-read the book to decide on the image I would use but it had to be the final scene, Gray, about to destroy what he had indeed become, thinking it would free him and wipe out the evil life he had led.

This drawing was for another exlibris for Brigitta.  I'd always intended drawing Merlin.  For many years I had loved the work of Alan Lee (long before his Lord of the Rings fame) and expecially his various depictions of Merlin.  I was very excited by this commission but disappointed that she wanted the scene to be at the end of his story when he becomes imprisoned for ever in a stone tomb.  I almost turned the commission down but I read several versions and realised that it could be seen as a true love story.  Although Merlin loved Nimue he would leave her alone for long periods, fed up with this she persuaded him to teach her his magic and then used it against him.  Merlin was so in love with Nimue that, knowing his fate, he followed her.  As he slept she circled him nine times with her wimple thus enchanting him to stay forever in that place where she would visit him often, and she did.  Some said he was imprisoned in a tree, others in a tower, I chose to show it as a place of his own making.

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