(1883 - 1957)
“Seeing with a clear eye … Beholding in all things, that only which they are”

Edward Julius Detmold was the younger twin brother to Charles Maurice Detmold, born in Putney, and brought up primarily by two uncles, one who ensured the twins’s interest in natural history was satisfied and the other who encouraged their prodigious artist talent.  They spent much of their time studying, drawing and painting animals and the natural world, and by the time they were 13 they had exhibited both at the Royal Academy and at the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours.

In 1897 the publisher J.M. Dent was so impressed by their art that he commissioned Pictures from Birdland, published in 1899, in which their technical ability, knowledge of the natural form and interest in Japanese art are all clearly evinced.  During 1900 the brothers began work on what was to be their greatest joint work – Illustrations for Kipling’s Jungle Book. Macmillan published the 16 illustrations as a large portfolio without text in 1903. The public had to wait until 1908 until the illustrations were issued with the text in book form.  It was also in 1908 that Maurice, aged only 24, committed suicide by inhaling chloroform.  This tragedy deeply affected Edward, who threw himself into his work, producing a series of magnificent book illustrations commissioned by Hodder and Stoughton over a thirteen year period, including the beautiful The Fables of Aesop and The Arabian Nights.  The Arabian Nights (1924) proved to be his last illustrated book and by 1940 he had withdrawn entirely from public life, suffering a period of depression resulting in his own suicide in 1957. Despite his tragic personal life, Edward Detmold produced a collection of outstanding  illustrations  “which give scope for the fanciful, the weird, and the romantic.” (Bookman, 1924).

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Books by this author

The Arabian Nights