Saturday, April 27, 2013

Artist: H.J. Ford

"'Yes, it must be that,' said the Troll"
I found an art book on the clearance cart at Half-Price Books that introduced me to an illustrator who seems to have had (directly or indirectly) a great influence on how we visualize the monsters of Dungeons & Dragons.
The book is Maidens, Monsters & Heroes: The Fantasy Illustrations of H.J. Ford.  The images and captions in this blog post are all from this volume.
"Grumedan's Lion Fetches in the Princess"
The artist Henry Justice Ford illustrated some dozen books of fairy tales published in England in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  These pictures would fit right in with those in the first edition AD&D Monster Manual.
"The Griffin"
In addition to the black & white work, Ford did a number of color paintings as well for some of the later volumes.  He illustrated all types of stories for the publisher, including fairy tales, Arabian nights, history, and (Fr Dave of Blood of Prokopius take note) stories about saints and heroes:
"How St. Anthony met a centaur and a satyr"
There's even a reference to one saint who inspired a major figure in the World of Greyhawk setting:
"The man on the white horse comes to heal St. Cuthbert"
Pretty good find for just three bucks.  These pictures intrigue me.  Now I need to track down some of the stories collected by Arthur Lang that inspired them.  Anyone know a rare book dealer?


New Big Dragon said...

Most of the Lang books are available in PDF form through As for rare book dealers, I'm sorry I can't be much help there.

Desert Scribe said...

Thanks, NBD. That's a lot cheaper than buying an expensive volume from a dealer.

HoldFast said...

Wow! What a great find! The illustrations are awesome. Proof that there are some real gems in the Half Price Books.

Sovereigneternal said...

It's been pointed out that the illustration of the Cloud Giant from the first edition Monster Manual borrowed quite liberally from "Grumedan's Lion Fetches in the Princess."