Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Beautiful Book #36
The Circus by Brian Wildsmith. Oxford, 1970.
Someday I would like to see Brian Wildsmith's original art for the well over 80 books he has illustrated. Sure, the mountains of trade paperbacks and beat up hardcovers that surround me are grand, but that art...those colours...those splashes and shapes...I want to see them big. I want to put my nose so close to them that the museum guard must clear his throat to hold me at bay. I want to stand 15 feet away from where they hang on a wall, close my eyes, inhale deeply, and then open my eyes to drink them in.
When his ABC was published in 1962, Brian Wildsmith gave birth to the joyous, 1960s revolution of colour in children's literature. In his books, each illustration is a work of art and most don't really need text at all. This is why the wordless Circus is my favourite of his books. I am afforded the privacy I so demand with his illustrations.
Some day, if I save my pennies and am lucky, I may get to the Wildsmith museum that has been built outside of Tokoyo--or maybe there will be an exhibition somewhere in striking distance to Atlantic Canada. Until then, I will content myself with his books. If you are looking to give a gift to a young child this Christmas, you can still get new copies of Brian Wildsmith's Favourite Nursery Rhymes and Brian Wildsmith's Favourite Fables for a good price. Many of his other books are also still in/back in print but the two I mention do make excellent gift books.
And here are a couple of online articles about him: one from an interview with The Independent and the other which is short and sweet but features pretty pictures.