Dantes Inferno, suicides and the Harpies
Dante's Inferno. Canto XIII, line 11: 'Here [suicide tree] the brute Harpies make their nest' (at right: Dante and Virgil). Italian poet Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) wrote his epic poem 'Divina Commedia' (The Divine Comedy) between 1308 and his death in 1321. Totalling 14, 233 lines, and divided into three parts (Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso), it is considered the greatest literary work in the Italian language and a world masterpiece. It is a comprehensive survey of medieval theology, literature and thought. Artwork by French artist Gustave Dore (1832-1883); engraving from 'The Vision of Hell' (1868), Henry Francis Cary's English translation of the Inferno.
© MIDDLE TEMPLE LIBRARY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Surreal study, 1952. Creator: Shirley Markham
Surreal study, 1952. Illustration for a poem by TS Eliot. Shirley Markham (1931-1999) studied Graphic Design and Illustration at Central School of Art in London from 1950-1952. The writer, artist, poet, and illustrator Mervyn Peake (1911-1968) was one of her tutors, and her style of drawing was also influenced by other British illustrators such as Edward Ardizzone, Quentin Blake and Edward Bawden. Markham spent time in the Dolomite Mountains in Italy, and also visited Rome, sketching classical buildings. After graduating from Central, she worked as a graphic designer, producing book illustrations, cartoons for comics, menus and programmes. She gave up her promising career however when she got married in 1957. Middle-class women at that time were expected to devote their energies to bringing up children and running the home, and despite her obvious talent, she lacked the confidence to return to illustration. Her portfolio remained in the family attic for many years, but now her work is published here for the first time.
© Shirley Markham Collection / Heritage-Images
'The Chimney Sweeper', plate 7 (Bentley 12) from 'Songs of Innocence
XYC220892 'The Chimney Sweeper', plate 7 (Bentley 12) from 'Songs of Innocence and of Experience' (Bentley Copy L) 1789-94 (raised etching with pen and w/c) by Blake, William (1757-1827); 11.4x7.3 cm; Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, USA; English, out of copyright
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