Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dracula Original Art

One of the cornerstone pieces of original artwork by Edward Gorey in my collection is the drawing for the proscenium arch from the Nantucket production of Dracula. This piece of art is inscribed "To John", and is signed by Mr. Gorey. It was presented to producer John Wulp by the artist and came from his personal collection. This is the only piece of Dracula original art in my collection and it represents the earliest association with this play by Mr. Gorey.

The drawing features one of Mr. Gorey's signature "Skull-Headed Bats" hovering above the stage, with skull shaped planters on either side of the stage. The planters are placed in front of massive castle walls, which were used throughout the set for Dracula. Growing out of these planters are evil looking flowering plants.

Because this piece of art was used as a working drawing by the scenic technicians, it was drawn at 1/4 scale for the stage, as was all the art for this production. Mr. Gorey stated in an interview that he had to draw the sets at quarter scale (which is smaller than usual for set designs) because if he made the art larger and filled the designs with the intended crosshatching, it would have taken forever for the scenic artists to hand paint the details when enlarged to full size for the set! As you can see from the photo of the set, every surface of the set is covered in Mr. Gorey's trademark crosshatching, so even with these larger strokes, painting the set still took considerable time and effort to complete.


Bloglion said...

Regarding this and the last post, I wanted to make a comment that this is precisely the reason why a resource like your blog is important. Far from being merely a showcase of an important collection, it allows us the opportunity to contemplate areas of Gorey's work that would not be otherwise available to us. In other words, the books are awesome, the ephemera delightful, and the art spectacular (and covet-inducing), but the back-stories, historical perspectives, and rarely seen images add so much richness to the collection. Thanks

Susan said...

I just came across your wonderful Gorey blog this past week and I've really enjoyed reading your posts! It is especially nice to see these fantastic rare pieces - thank you very much for sharing them here! I have a very modest collection, in comparison, but it is a real joy to me. I look forward to your future posts! Thanks again! Susan

ampootozote said...

Every collection starts as a "modest" collection. I can remember when I had about 7 books on the shelf - all either reprints or newly published volumes by Mr. Gorey. Now there are several book cases and much wall space devoted to the pieces.

I still enjoy hunting for new treasures to add to my ever expanding grouping. It is a pleasure to research the pieces more fully and share them with everyone who is interested in this fascinating artist.