Wednesday, March 13, 2019

A Lost Sime Illustration for Dunsany's Book of Wonder

Dunsany's Book of Wonder was published by William Heinemann in November 1912.  It contains fourteen tales, twelve of which originally appeared in a different order (and with texts abridged) in The Sketch between December 1910 and March 1911. The book reprints ten illustrations by S.H. Sime, while the serialization had eleven illustrations.  The Sime illustration in the periodical but not in the book was for the story "The Injudicious Prayers of Pombo the Idolator." I copy it below (click on it to see a larger version).  One wonders if it might have seemed too dark to print in the smaller book-sized format.

If you zoom in you can see what I presume to be the high-priest of Maharrion ("who is neither bird nor cat") to the left of the center, and to the right of it a boy (Pombo?) before "the little idol Duth." I suspect the figure (?) to the left of the base of the stairs is Maharrion "the god of flowers" and the aureoled growth hanging out over the abyss is supposed to be some kind of unearthly flower. Of course for The Book of Wonder, Dunsany and Sime reversed their usual process, and Sime made the illustrations first, and Dunsany then made up stories to fit the illustrations. 


  1. I sent a scan of this illustration a few years ago to Ned Brooks, a collector and APA guy who reproduced it for a chapbook he used to put out. It came out totally black with no detail at all so it must be very difficult to reproduce this particular image.

  2. Nice to remember Ned, as he died almost four years ago. I miss his review annual IGOTS [It Goes on the Shelf].

  3. He was an incredibly great guy, it was a shock to hear of his death. We really enjoyed everything about him, a special customer.