Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mirabile videre ....

... plate II, The Konigsmark Drawings by Rex Whistler. 

"These secret meetings, so treasured, so sacred, which made a long summer's day no more than an attribute of one wondrous hour." 

"It was the Summer of 1940, in a time of national crisis equalled only by Senlac and the Armada, that A. E. W. Mason asked Rex to do some illustrations for Konigsmark, a small gesture of the kind that civilisation must always make in the jutting face of barbarism. The towers topple, but the illuminating of manuscripts is to go on. Konigsmark had already been published in 1938, and had run into six impressions in the first five months. But it's author does not seem to have intended a fine illustrated edition of the novel: his first idea was to have the drawings bound up with the manuscript for his own enjoyment. It is easy to see how this romantic tale from the days of the Grand Alliance against Louis XIV, this tale of violence and love in a setting of German Baroque palaces and formal gardens, should seem to the writer a good subject to inspire my brother; for in writing it he had probably been influenced, whether consciously or unconsciously, by Rex's own revival of the period. Within the limits imposed by a novel of this kind, the description of the architecture and the decoration is accurate, and of a kind, I think, that was not familiar in fiction before the nineteen-thirties." 

Part of Laurence Whistler's Introduction to the limited edition book of The Konigsmark Drawings by his brother Rex. There is more, but this seemed the most pertinent to the task at hand.

Don't forget, its about the architecture. 

1 comment:

  1. I love Rex Whistler's whimsy.. so English, so of its time. When you were in London, did you go to the Tate Gallery's restaurant with the verdant Whistler murals? Magical, I think. Not aware of The Konigsmark Drawings so thank you for this.