Introductory Materials

Sullivan had evidently studied closely Albrecht Dürer and the German engravers, and the drawings [in Sartor Resartus] show obvious signs of their influence, although they are entirely his own. The drawing throughout is sure and confident, and the artist has here realized and celebrated his worship of the power and beauty of line. The woman . . . [in eighteenth-century costume] is an example of this delight. How splendidly, too, throughout the book has Sullivan drawn hands, a great test of the good draughtsman, and how excellent are his nudes. The little portrait heads at the beginning of the chapters are perfect of their kind and how much he enjoyed, like his admired Boyd Houghton, drawing beards. Here are imagination, invention, fancy and humour, masterly penmanship and colour, all the qualities of the perfect illustrator. It is in all respects the greatest English illustrated book within the limitations of pen and ink, and the student will learn much from a careful consideration of its methods.

There are two ways of making a pen drawing, each with its own variations. In the first the lines are used to indicate tone, shadows and colour as with a pencil, and, if this is capably done, one loses consciousness of the lines. E. A. Abbey, Charles Keene, Linley Sambourne and Daniel Vierge, with his well-placed blacks, are typical exponents of this method. Sambourne, a great master of the pen, had the peculiar, unique gift of being able to draw clear lines at varying angles and yet produce a flat and even tone. In the other process the line is used quite frankly as an outline for shapes, for indicating the contours and texture of surfaces or for suggesting by elimination the simplified essentials of the subject. The artist glories in the display of the strength, beauty and decoration of the line itself. Albrecht Dürer, Frederick Sandys, Phil May and Aubrey Beardsley are examples.

Sullivan successfully combined both methods. 'Blumine' is a masterpiece of pen work in design, draughtsmanship, colour and decoration, although one wonders why the editor had to introduce two lines of text below it. It should have had a page to itself without even a heading, and a larger edition should have been printed with the drawings in facsimile between wide margins. The book created a great sensation by reason of its originality and vigour and was an enormous success. — James Thorpe, 26-27

Contemporary Contexts


Illustrations on this site

Books illustrated by E. J. Sullivan

[From James Thorpe; see bibliography. ••• = works with illustrations by Sullivan on the Victorian Web.]

1896 Lavengro by George Borrow. Macmillan.

1896 The Rivals and The School for Scandal by Sheridan. Macmillan.

1896 Tom Brown's Schooldays. Macmillan. •••

1896 The Compleat Angler by Izaak Walton. J. M. Dent & Co.

1897 The Pirate, The Three Cutters by Captain Marryat; Newton Forster or The Merchant Service by Captain Marryat. Macmillan.

1898 Sartor Resartus by Thomas Carlyle. Geo. Bell & Sons. •••

1900 A Dream of Fair Women by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Grant Richards. •••

1901 The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan. 2 vols. Geo. Newnes.

1901 Poems by Robert Burns. Geo. Newnes.

1904 A Citizen of the World by Oliver Goldsmith. Wells, Gardner, Darton & Co.

1905 A Modern Utopia by H. G. Wells. Chapman & Hall.

1908 Sintram and His Companions (frontispiece excepted) by La Motte Fouque. Methuen.

1910 The French Revolution by Thomas Carlyle. Chapman & Hall.

1913 The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam translated by Edward FitzGerald. Methuen. •••

1914 The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith. Constable.

1915 The Kaiser's Garland. Cartoons by E. J. Sullivan. Heinemann.

1916 Legal and Other Lyrics by George Outram. T. N. Foulis.

1921 The Art of Illustration by E. J. Sullivan. Chapman & Hall.

1922 Line by E. J. Sullivan. Chapman & Hall.

1922 Maud by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Macmillan. •••

Books containing illustrations by E. J. Sullivan

1895 A London Garland edited by W. E. Henley. Macmillan.

1900-1 The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne by Gilbert White. 2 vols. Freemantle. •••

1902 The Old Court Suburb by Leigh Hunt. Freemantle.

The Art of the Illustrator issued by Percy V. Bradshaw. 20 parts. The Press Art School.

Select list of Newspapers and Periodicals containing illustrations by E. J. Sullivan

The Daily Graphic
The Penny Illustrated Paper
The English Illustrated I
The Pall Mall Budget
The Pall Mall Magazine
The Daily Chronicle
The Lady's Pictorial
The Gentlewoman
Black and White
New Budget
Good Words
The English Illustrated Magazine
The Ludgate Monthly
The Windsor Magazine
Pearson's Magazine

The Yellow Book


Thorpe, James. E. J. Sullivan. London: Art and Technics, 1948.

Last modified 22 December 2012