Edmund Dulac was born in Toulouse, France on 22nd October 1882. He was educated in Toulouse studying both law and art, before moving to Paris and continuing his studies at The Academie Julian. He settled in London in 1906 working as an illustrator, portrait painter and costume designer with much of his work influenced substantially by Middle and Far Eastern cultures. One of the most popular artists of the 20th Century, he worked in a period of unparalleled excellence in book and magazine illustration. This 'Golden Age' was made possible by advances in technology that permitted accurate and inexpensive reproduction of art, combined with an enormous public demand for new graphic art. With works such as Sinbad the Sailor (1914), Fairy Book and Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1909) Dulac, along with his rival Arthur Rackham, came to dominate this new market.
The three drawings in this lot are preliminary illustrations for Robert Lewis Stevenson's Treasure Island, published 1927. These drawings mark a change in Dulac's style. He uses pale and misty colours and creates little miniature Eighteenth Century scenes. His perspective is altered, the scenes now viewed from above and afar 'as if one is looking through a telescope' (see A.C.Hughey's Edmund Dulac, His Book Illustrations: A Bibliography, STET.) His intention was that no child reader would feel threatened by any of the boisterous events because they take place at such a distance. These illustrations are ranked very highly in Dulac's oeuvre, Hughey writes 'The detailing and design of the pictures present some of Dulac's most careful and superb painting. He himself liked these illustrations best of all his work.' (A.C.Hughey, op. cit.,).