The Best of Frank C Pape - Myth, Fable and Fairy Tale art from "The Golden Age of Illustration"
Frank C Papé (1878-1972) was an English artist associated with "The Golden Age of Illustration". He contributed color illustrations interpreting fairy tales, myths and legend to many titles in his early career - at that time, his artwork carried many Art Nouveau and Pre-Raphaelite influences.
The stories illustrated by Papé provided considerable scope for him to interpret fairy tales, myths, legends and fantasy from a variety of traditions, with his illustrations being published in: The Toils and Travels of Odysseus (1908); Fifty-Two Stories of Classic Heroes (1910); The Gateway to Spenser: Stories from the Faerie Queen (1910); The Pilgrim's Progress (1910); The Golden Fairy Book (1911); The Ruby Fairy Book (1911); The Diamond Fairy Book (1911); Sigurd and Gudrun (1912); Siegfried and Kriemhild (1912); The Book of Psalms (1912); As It Is In Heaven (1912); The Story Without an End (1912); The Indian Story Book (1914); Robin Hood and Other Stories of Yorkshire (1915); The Russian Story Book (1916); Tales from Shakespeare (1923); The Revolt of the Angels (1924); Penguin Island (1925); The Well of St Clare (1928); Domnei: A Comedy of Woman-Worship (1930); and Suetonius' Lives of the Twelve Caesars (1930).
Throughout the latter part of his career, Papé contributed to illustrated books almost exclusively with monotone images.
While we have provided links for various products available through Amazon throughout this Hub, you may also like to consider the wider range available at the Frank C Papé Collection shown at the 'Spirit of the Ages' Museum.
Frank C Pape's illustrations for "The Toils and Travels of Odysseus" (1908)
The Toils and Travels of Odysseus (1908) is an illustrated translation of Homer's work from Antiquity, the Odyssey. The translation is provided by Pease, and in his Introduction (shown, in part, below), he provides a thoughtful introduction to the tale:
The Odyssey is a noble poem and an enchanting story. In beauty of language, wealth of imagination, and delicacy of feeling, it is one of the world's great masterpieces. It has, moreover, the charm of age. Nearly three thousand years have passed since it was first chanted by the minstrels, and still we can read the very words which "held the feasters spellbound in the shadowy halls".
The suite of illustrations (including 12 major monotone designs) prepared by Frank C Papé provide a powerful complement to the tale attributed to Homer.
Frank C Pape's illustrations for "Fifty-Two Stories of Classic Heroes" (1910)
Fifty-Two Stories of Classic Heroes (1910) is a compilation edited by Francis Storr.
The eight illustrations by Frank C Papé for Fifty-Two Stories of Classic Heroes (1910) include: "Theseus goes to slay the Minotaur"; "Ulysses and the Cyclops"; "Æneas in Hades"; "The Story of Daphne"; "Perseus and Andromeda"; "Hercules and Nessus"; "Romulus and Remus"; and "Hercules and the Golden Apples".
Papé's illustrative interpretation of tales within Fifty-Two Stories of Classic Heroes (1910) represents a wonderful suite of strong monotone images that complement the themes of the tales in a masterful fashion.
Frank C Pape's illustrations for "The Gateway to Spenser: Stories from the Faerie Queen" (1910)
The Gateway to Spenser: Stories from the Faërie Queen (1910) was based on a poem was a poem written by Edmund Spenser - a Cambridge educated Londoner in Elizabethan England - dedicated to the Queen herself. Throughout the epic poem, delightful adventurous stories are told of knight and ladies, dragons and giants and sorcerers and witches. The retelling - prepared by Emily Underdown some 300 years after the original poem - includes thirteen tales: "Una and the Red Cross Knight"; "The Red Cross Knight and Una set out"; "Una's Lion"; "The Fight with the Dragon"; "Sir Guyon"; "Guyon finds Mammon"; "Britomart"; "Britomart and the Mirror"; "Florimell finds the Witch's Cottage"; "Britomart's Fight"; "Sir Calidore and the Blatant Beast"; "Calidore and Pastorella"; and "The Defeat of the Blatant Beast".
The suite of illustrations presented by Papé for Underdown's The Gateway to Spenser: Stories from the Faërie Queen (1910) - in colour and monotone - are a magnificent example of what may be expected from an early Edwardian gift book. Papé has ensured that nearly every second page decorated with exquisitely detailed marginal monotone images and his 16 colored illustrations are wonderfully romantic interpretations of Spenser's epic poem.
Frank C Pape's illustrations for "The Pilgrim's Progress" (1910)
The Pilgrim's Progress (1910) was based on the Christian allegory of the same title written by John Bunyan and first published in 1678. The tale's central protagonist is, fittingly, named Christian, and Bunyan takes the reader on Christian's journey from his home, styled the "City of Destruction" (representing earthly existence) to the "Celestial City" (representing Heaven) atop Mt Zion.
Bunyan's classic work is regarded as one of the most significant works of English literature. It abounds with the author's skill at breathing life into the abstractions of the anthropomorphized temptations and abstractions that Christian encounters and with whom he converses on his course to Heaven - examples include: 'Mr Great-heart'; 'Mr Brisk'; 'Old Honest'; 'Giant Despair'; 'Hill Difficulty'; and 'Hill Lucre'. Samuel Johnson referred to those attributes when he praised "The Pilgrim's Progress" thus:
... this is the great merit of the book, that the most cultivated man cannot find anything to praise more highly, and the child knows nothing more amusing.
The suite of illustrations prepared by Frank C Papé for The Pilgrim's Progress (1910) - including 12 color designs - are stunning and powerful. They are a perfect complement to the spiritual and philosophical text from Bunyan.
Frank C Pape's illustrations for "The Golden Fairy Book" (1911)
The Golden Fairy Book (1911) is a collection of fairy tales from a number of traditions, including: Serbian; French; Portuguese; Hungarian; Italian; Russian; and South African. Translations from the traditional texts are provided in English and authors include: George Sana; Ganzalo Fernandez Francoso; Alexandre Dumas; Maritz Jokaï; Voltaire; Lermontov; Laboulaye; Zavier Marmier; Granal; and Souvestre.
Tales included in The Golden Fairy Book (1911) are: "The Prince with the Hand of Gold"; "Fairy Dust"; "The Lucky Coin"; "The Enchanted Whistle"; "Barak Hageb and his Wives"; "The Hermit"; "Ashik-Kerab"; "The Little Grey Man"; "The Three Brother Beasts"; "The Blue Cat"; "The Silver Penny"; "The Slippers of Abou-Karem"; "The Three Sisters and their Glass Hearts"; "Rajeb's Reward"; "The Three Lemons"; "Drak the Fairy"; "Kojata"; "The Lost Spear"; and "Zerbin the Wood-Cutter".
The 8 color illustrations prepared by Papé to accompany tales within The Golden Fairy Book (1911) are lovely examples of some of his earlier published color images.
Frank C Pape's illustrations for "The Ruby Fairy Book" (1911)
The Ruby Fairy Book (1911) is a collection of 17 fairy tales from a variety of traditions, including: French; German; Italian; Russian; and English. The tales include: "Cinderella's Daughter"; "The Sun Horse"; "The Wandering Soldier"; "The Shy Princess"; "Christmas in the Forest"; "The Woodcutter's Daughter and the Mysterious Voice"; "The Cotton-wool Princess"; "The Ant Mountain"; "Memory-Saver"; "The Story of Sunbeam"; "The Captive Princess"; "Axim's Reward; or, the Magic Blessing"; "Prince Egor and the Raven"; "Fishy Frolics"; "Natalia and the Imp"; "Bell Yvonne and Her Husband the Dwarf"; and "Knowledge without Wisdom".
The 8 color illustrations prepared by Papé to accompany tales within The Ruby Fairy Book (1911) are lovely examples of some of his earliest published color images.
Frank C Pape's illustrations for "The Diamond Fairy Book" (1911)
The Diamond Fairy Book (1911) is a collection of 19 fairy tales from a variety of traditions, including: German; Swedish; Breton; French; English; and Persian. The tales include: "Princess Crystal, or the Hidden Treasure"; "The Story of the Invisible Kingdom"; "How Sampo Lappellill saw the Mountain King"; "The Witch-Dancer's Doom"; "The Three Valleys"; "The Spring-tide of Life"; "Ringfalla Bridge"; "The Children's Fairy"; "Wittysplinter"; "The Mid-day Rock"; "Lillekort"; "The Ten Little Fairies"; "The Magician and his Pupil"; "The Strawberry Thief"; "The Adventures of Said"; "Little Blue Flowers"; "The Princess Who Despised all Men"; "The Necklace of Tears"; and "The Prince and the Lions".
Papé's 8 color illustrations for The Diamond Fairy Book (1911) are lovely interpretations of this amazing array of fairy tales from many lands.
Frank C Pape's illustrations for "Sigurd and Gudrun" (1912)
Sigurd and Gudrun (1912) is a variant of the Norse "Völsunga Saga" - a medieval epic poem that tells of the origin and decline of the Völsung and their in-laws in Burgundy, the Giukings (otherwise known as the Nibelungs of Germanic literature). While Völsung Saga may be dated to the 13th Century, it is based on an oral tradition that is thought to be based on events that occurred some 700-800 years earlier.
The variant illustrated by Papé recounts the tale in 15 parts: "How Gudrun lived at Home with Hettel and Hilde"; "How Suitors came to the Court: Siegfried, Sigurd, and Hartmut", "Sigurd determines to win Gudrun in Fight"; "Siegfried attacks Sigurd's Land"; "Hartmut attacks Matelane and seizes Gudrun"; "Sigurd and Hettel and Siegfried hear the News - the Pilgrims come"; "How Hartmut took Gudrun to the Island of Wolpensand - Sigurd and Hettel pursue him"; "Gudrun is taken to Normanland"; "Sigurd returns sad to the Netherlands, and Ortwin returns to Mateland"; "Gerlind afflicts Gudrun"; "Sigurd in Despair - Gudrun is harshly entreated by Gerlind"; "Good News for Gudrun"; "Sigurd attacks Normanland"; "Return of Gudrun to Mateland"; and "The End of Sigurd and Gudrun's Woes".
Papé's 8 color contributions to Sigurd and Gudrun (1912) are wonderful examples of color images he produced for illustrated titles oriented at a more mature population and are uncompromising in representing the Norse tales with his own infusion of Pre-Raphaelite influences.
Frank C Pape's illustrations for "Siegfried and Kriemhild" (1912)
Siegfried and Kriemhild (1912) is an adaptation of an epic medieval German poem - "Nibelungenlied" ("The Song of the Nibelungs") that, itself, is based on a pre-Christian Germanic oral tradition known as "Nibelungensaga". That oral tradition is believed to be based on historic events and individuals from around 500-600 AD. The tale recounts stories of Siegfried (the dragon-slayer) at the Burgundian court, including his murder and the subsequent revenge of his wife, Kriemhild.
Papé's 8 color illustrations for Siegfried and Kriemhild (1912) are wonderful examples of his rapidly maturing romantic style and are a magnificent interpretation of the medieval Germanic romance. The presentation of the images - within an integrated decorative borders - is a particular treat, with Papé presenting a central illustration and two further images to create the visual effect of a vertical triptych.
Frank C Pape's illustrations for "The Book of Psalms" (1912)
The Book of Psalms (1912) is based on one of the books of what may be commonly identified as the "Old Testament" - that part of the Christian canon drawn from Judaic sources (it roughly corresponds with the Tanakh). Each Psalm is a religious song, or chant - the purpose of which is to focus the worshiper's thoughts on God in praise and adoration.
While Hebrew and Muslim traditions hold that authorship of the Psalms is attributed to the Biblical figure of King David, modern linguistic scholars have identified that a number of authors or groups of authors were involved with the Psalms. The Psalms are believed to have first been committed in written form some 1400 years after the reign of King David and thus, a significant oral tradition was responsible for the transmission of the earliest of the hymns from the Davidic period.
The subject matter within the Psalms is diverse and includes themes such as: God and His creation; war; worship; wisdom; sin and evil; judgment; justice and the coming of the Messiah.
Papé's depictions of various lines from the Psalms - through his suite of 24 color illustrations - are composed magnificently and are a wonderful complement to themes within the Psalms.
Frank C Pape's illustrations for "As It Is In Heaven" (1912)
As It Is In Heaven (1912) was written by Alfred Clark and the First Edition - as illustrated by Frank C Papé - was published by Sampson, Low, Martson & Co. Ltd. (London). Clark's tale tells the story of a visit to Heaven experienced by Bobbie Burton (the tale's central character) during just the moment in time while he was being read The Lord's Prayer - the dream occurs between the phrases, "As it is in Heaven" and "For thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, for ever and ever. - Amen".
Through his brief - albeit monumental - sojourn in Heaven, Bobbie is joined by his dog Scamp and Winnie Wynton (both of whom Bobbie knows to have passed-on previously). Throughout the adventures, the loving, forgiving and praise-worthy nature of God is repeated and celebrated by all those whom Bobbie, Scamp and Winnie meet. The group encounters all manner of person, including Beowulf's compatriots (Cynwulf and Hothgar), a Sister of the Order of St Brilda of Mordelaix, a German Knight (Ulric von Ardenfeldt), an Italian thief and murderer (Guiseppe Gianuelli), a Roman soldier (Sabinus), and a Pharoah (Tefnekt). Similarly, they visit many lands, including India, Polynesian islands, Japan, Persia, the Empire of the Incas, and the Swiss Alps.
Papé's color contributions (including 8 color designs) to As It Is In Heaven (1912) are wonderful examples of early-Edwardian fairy tale illustrations inspired by Clark's spiritual text.
Frank C Pape's illustrations for "The Story Without An End" (1912)
According to the dedication provided by Sarah Austin in The Story Without an End (1912), she translated the tale from the German of Carové at the behest of her own child who, "wished that other children might share the delight it has so often afforded". The Story Without an End (1912) is a varied and magnificent book which contains wonderful and glorious things - as any good fairy tale should - and as Austin herself suggests, "to discover all its beautiful meanings, you must have pure, clear eyes, and an humble, loving heart".
Papé's 8 color illustrations for The Story Without an End (1912) are wonderful complement to the translation provided by Austin.
Frank C Pape's illustrations for "The Indian Story Book" (1914)
Papé's contributions to The Indian Story Book (1914) include 16 color images, in addition to many more line illustrations.
The description provided in Wilson's own Foreword to The Indian Story Book (1914) establishes the setting for Papé's images wonderfully:
... these Oriental stories have within them the same elements as those which win our admiration in the tales of our own land - love of virtue and hatred of oppression, tenderness towards children, women, and the aged, bravery and resource in the face of danger, patience under tribulation, and faith in the ultimate conquest of evil.
Frank C Pape's illustrations for "Robin Hood and Other Stories of Yorkshire" (1915)
Robin Hood and Other Stories of Yorkshire (1915) was published by the London firm of Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd. The First Edition - carrying the illustrations by Papé included tales such as "The Hobman", "The Death of Robin Hood", "The Boy and His Wages", "Legends of the Men of Austwick", "The Fairy and the Ring" and "Potter Thompson's Adventure".
Papé's 6 color illustrations for Robin Hood and Other Stories of Yorkshire (1915) are a lovely little folk-ish collection, sprinkled with Fairies and classic Yorkshire themes.
Frank C Pape's illustrations for "The Russian Story Book" (1916)
Papé's contributions to The Russian Story Book (1916) include 16 color images, in addition to more than 30 further line illustrations.
The following description - provided in Wilson's own Foreword to The Russian Story Book (1916) - establishes the setting for Papé's images wonderfully:
The stories of the song-cycles of Kiev and Novgorod tell of a barbaric, though not a barbarian, world, full of high colour and spirited action, of the knock-down blow followed quickly by the hand of friendship freely extended to pick up the fallen foeman - if indeed he has had the hardihood to survive.
The illustrations by Papé are particularly interesting having set the scenes within the Viking heritage of early Russia.
Frank C Pape's illustrations for "Tales from Shakespeare" (1923)
Tales from Shakespeare (1923) was published by Frederick Warne & Co. Ltd. (London) with a stunning suite of 8 color and 12 major monotone illustrations contributed by Papé to the classic collection of Shakespeare's tales brought together by Charles and Mary Lamb.
Frank C Pape's illustrations for "The Revolt of the Angels" (1924)
"The Revolt of the Angels" is a powerful tale from Anatole France (a Nobel Laureat). The review published in The New York Times upon initial release (without illustrations) provides a wonderful introduction to one of France's classic works:
[The Revolt of the Angels] will, to many readers appear, quite literally, as sinister as the Devil himself.
The plutonic comparison is no mere rhetorical flourish, for the subject of the story is a new conspiracy on the part of the Angels to dethrone God: and the events of the elder conspiracy, which John Milton "has sung," as M. France causes the Abbé Coignard to remark in another book, "with very great barbarity," are related from the point of view of a participant on the losing side.
France's novel needed to wait a decade until it was matched with the stunning illustrations and extensive decorations designed by Frank C Papé - including 12 major monotone images - (the illustrated edition was first published by John Lane The Bodley Head Ltd [London]) in 1924.
Frank C Pape's illustrations for "Penguin Island" (1925)
"Penguin Island" is a satirical fictional history from Anatole France (a Nobel Laureate) wherein a colony of penguins on a fictitious island is represented in anthropomorphic fashion. France begins the history when a Christian monk is blown on to the island and being partly blind, he mistakes the penguins for people and baptizes them. That otherwise sacrilegious act compels God to provide the penguins with a soul and thus, the penguin colony is converted into a hybrid with human qualities. "Penguin Island" then serves as a vehicle for France to explore the former history of his homeland - and a potential future version of that society - in the satirical milieu of that fantasy world.
Frank C Papé contributed a suitably satirical suite of illustrations - including 12 major monotone designs and other decorations - to the illustrated edition of Penguin Island published by John Lane The Bodley Head Ltd (London) in 1925.
Frank C Pape's illustrations for "The Well of St Clare" (1928)
The Well of St Clare (1928) - carrying the illustrations of Frank C Papé - was a translation (by Alfred Allinson) of the classic work from Anatole France, "Le Puits de Sainte Claire", that had originally been published in the native French version in 1895. As with other works by France, including "La Rôtisserie de la Reine Pédauque" and "Les Opinions de Jérôme Coignard", the collection of stories within The Well of St Clare (1928) is centered on the character of Abbé Coignard, who, much like France himself, was complex, ironic and lovable.
Like the text being illustrated, Papé's images are at one moment detailed and spiritually powerful, while the next they may be more simple and abstract. As always, they appear to be a perfect complement to the text.
Frank C Pape's illustrations for "Domnei: A Comedy of Woman-Worship" (1930)
Domnei: A Comedy of Woman-Worship (1930) is one a James Branch Cabell's fantasy works - as is, in fact, a restyled variant of an earlier work, "The Soul of Melicent". Throughout the tale, Cabell weaves a romantic fantasy in which Melicent (the daughter of the noble Emanuel) first falls in love with an outlaw, only to be kidnapped by the evil Demetrios and harassed by the Wandering Jew.
The suite of illustrations prepared by Frank C Papé to accompany Cabell's work - including 10 major monotone designs - are a further example of his fully matured style and demonstrate a keen eye for illustrative interpretation of adult fantasy.
Frank C Pape's illustrations for "Suetonius' Lives of the Twelve Caesars" (1930)
Suetonius' Lives of the Twelve Caesars (1930) carrying the suite of illustrations by Frank C Papé (including 16 major monotone designs) was a Limited Edition publication - just 2000 copies being produced for the American and British markets and represented a new translation of the work by H M Bird.