Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Dennis Wheatley Bookplate by Frank C. Papé
I recently learned that one of my favorite illustrators, Frank C. Papé, did a bookplate for British Horror/Occult author Dennis Wheatley.
Papé did illustrations for a series of Bodley Head editions of allegorical fantasy writers; James Branch Cabell and Anatole France. The plates are vivid, bizarre and frequently use a pseudo-3D technique placing parallel action on different focal planes. To me he looks like a precursor of underground cartoonists Robert Williams and S. Clay Wilson.
I tracked the plate down and I'm very pleased with it. A jazz-age satyr smoking a cigarette with an iced bottle of Champers nearby, nudity, suggestive pagan imagery, a sacrilegious coda, all of my favorite things! Definitely one of the gems of my collection.
I haven't read Wheatley yet, but if his taste in bookplate artists--and the batshit crazy Hammer adaptation from 1968, Lost Continent--are indicators, I expect to enjoy his work.