Saturday, November 14, 2009

Albert Letchford and Adolphe Lalauze

These pictures were passed on to me by someone who is wondering of their origins and/or the names of the illustrations.

I believe the first is by Albert Letchford who did paintings for the second Burton edition and the second is by Adolphe Lalauze who did engravings for the same edition. I'm not sure of the titles of these but does anyone have a copy of them with titles for the illustrations?

The first publication of Burton's second edition of his Nights with these illustrations is: The 1894-1897 Burton Club edition by Nichols and Smithers - Albert Letchford and Adolphe Lalauze (who did engravings) illustrators. This puts the earliest date for the illustrations at 1894.

There were 70 illustrations by these guys (one collection of the illustrations is on ebay at the moment for $550!) and subsequent editions had less than 70 as far as I can tell.

If anyone could add anything more please do as a reply to this posting and thank you in advance.

This is what I suspect to be the Letchford painting (there is something about Letchford in several of Burton's biographies, he was a good friend of Burton's and painted most of his paintings for the Nights in Naples with local landscapes as backgrounds). It is from the frame story and illustrates the poor fate of the brothers Shahryar and Shahzaman...

Not sure what story this is from but the name on the bottom is clearly A. Lalauze, a semi-famous French engraver and artist.

- M


  1. Hi Michael,
    The first illustration is by Letchford. It first appeared in the 1897 Smithers edition, Vol. 1, p. 10. and does illustrate a scene from the frame story. It is titled: Story of King Shahryar and his Brother. "The Jinni seated her under the tree....Presently she raised her gracious head towards the tree-top and saw the two kings." is the associated passage. Nothing in there about her being naked. Artistic licence I guess. Letchford was commissioned by Smithers to produce illustrations for Burton’s Nights. They appeared in the 1897 reprint and were also available as separate boxed sets of plates of various sizes. You sometimes see them tipped into 1894 editions, or even the Kamashastra editions. They are also sometimes gathered into a separate volume to form a Vol. 13 of the Smithers set.
    The next illustration is by Adolphe Lalauze. He produced a series of 21 illustrations. I’m not sure when they were produced. Penzer (127) indicates that they were published in 1881-2 in a Jouaust edition of Galland. I haven’t seen this edition. The illustration in question is the second in the series. 17 of Lalauze’s illustrations appear in the Burton Club editions. This one is in Vol. 1, p. 324 and is associated with “The Barber’s Tale of His Second Brother.” The illustrations are also used in the 15 volume reprint Oriental Tales, John Payne’s Nights translation. See vol. 1, p. 294.

  2. Thanks for filling in the blanks JC!