Saturday, 12 June 2010

The Hoard of the Gibbelins

This Sime drawing illustrates one of Dunsany's most famous tales:
The Gibbelins eat, as is well known, nothing less good than man. Their evil tower is joined to Terra Cognita, to the lands we know, by a bridge. Their hoard is beyond reason; avarice has no use for it; they have a separate cellar for emeralds and a separate cellar for sapphires; they have filled a hole with gold and dig it up when they need it. And the only use that is known for their ridiculous wealth is to attract to their larder a continual supply of food. In times of famine they have even been known to scatter rubies abroad, a little trail of them to some city of Man, and sure enough their larders would soon be full again.

Their tower stands on the other side of that river known to Homer - Ό ρόος ώχεανοίο, as he called it - which surrounds the world. And where the river is narrow and fordable the tower was built by the Gibbelins' gluttonous sires, for they liked to see burglars rowing easily to their steps...
Read on here.


  1. Incredible sense of beautifully lit claustrophobia in these artworks Dave. Skies conspicuous by their absence and shadows that you wouldn't want to venture too far into.

    He would have been, aside from Peake himself, the ultimate illustrator for Gormenghast.

  2. I only wish my scans did the originals better justice, Peter. If you can find a copy of Sidney Sime: Master of the Mysterious by Simon Heneage and Henry Ford, that has some pretty good reproductions. Also there are some good Sime pictures in Gods, Men & Ghosts, the Dover Books edition of Dunsany's best tales. But the definitive collection of Sime prints has yet to be published, and I hope that somebody will do so once his works enter public domain next year.

  3. Simply beautiful. Thanks for the introduction. I'm definitely adding Sime and Dunsany to my library! The mood that Sime captures is incredible. Makes me want to start from scratch at the drafting table!

  4. Beautiful and eerie! It makes you wonder what strange things were going on in the minds of people like Morris, Carroll, Sime, Dunsany, etc. when an era where science, evolutionary theory and industrialization were in the ascendant could simultaneously give birth to such otherworldly imaginings.