ernest wallcousins

December 1, 2008


Most illustrations I know by Ernest Wallcousins are paintings of North American landscapes. As a colour blind illustrator I probably don’t get quite as much out of that branch of his work as I do out of this. It is quite different in feel to his colour work (which is quite romantic) but I love the way in which he handles lines in this illustration. The use of regular parallel lines to describe the planes of the architectural forms balances neatly with the stripes on the gent’s trousers (an example of ‘control and release’) and with the careful use of solid black. It is from The Big Book of Great Short Stories (Odhams, 1935) and is an illustration for The Tremendous Adventures of Major Brown by G.K Chesterton.


7 Responses to “ernest wallcousins”

  1. Oscar Grillo Says:

    Great image!…I love involuntary surrealism. For years I’ve been admiring the comics of “Mandrake, the Magician” drawn by Phil Davis, beats Magritte any day.

  2. sharrock Says:

    Thanks Oscar! You are so right! I deliberately didn’t go on about the image itself as it is…er, so weird! Much better than the story it illustrates (naturally!). I was always a big fan of Mandrake as a teenager. Now I know why!

    By the way, I mentioned you to Istvan Banyai the other day and he said you were a “genius animator” and of course I agreed! Do you know Istvan?

  3. Oscar Grillo Says:


  4. jojobird Says:

    Every so often I look up “Ernest Wallcousins” as he was my Great-Uncle – so interesting to see him appear in your blog. I must ask my mother why so many North America paintings are done by him – I was not aware of him going to America, but know little about him. He came from a large family, all artists but only he was employed as an artist. My mother and my sister have some examples of his work. His surname was originally Cousins but he attached his first wife’s name Wall to it when they married as she financed his art career.

  5. sharrock Says:

    Jojobird, thanks for the info and for dropping by! I am not sure about your Great-Uncle’s travels either. But I suspect he might have been in North America as there wouldn’t have been that much good reference for him (not that he needed it! He could draw;-). I knew about the extension of his name but I don’t know much else about him- apart from the fact I think his work was great! There is a real lack of information about a whole section of illustration history which I- and Oscar Grillo- are keen to remedy.

    Lucky for your mum and sister to have some of his original work! As he only died in the 1970s the rights to his work should still be in copyright and belong to whoever inherited his estate. There are LOTS of reproductions of his work available on the web…

    I shall keep digging- I may have more of his wonderful work in my book collection!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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