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Horton, Westley, 1846–1910

Illustrations to The rime of the ancient mariner.

Additional Title(s):

Title page: Ancient mariner, illustrations

Great Britain, 1891.
Physical Description:
1 volume (24, [1] leaves) : drawings ; 23 x 30 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
PR4480 .H67 1891+ Oversize
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Drawings & Watercolors
Westley Horton was a "painter of animals and rustic scenes ... recorded in Birmingham in 1874-5 ..." (Wood, Victorian painters). He provided illustrations for William Manning's The glow worm (London : Frank T. Sabin, 1896).
Title from cover.
Bound in contemporary quarter brown cloth and tan boards. Title written in manuscript on front cover.
Unpublished drawings, by Westley Horton, illustrating Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The rime of the ancient mariner. The volume includes 23 leaves of illustrations, preceded by an illustrated title leaf and a "Guide to the illustrations" (i.e., table of contents). The title leaf is dated MDCCCXCI. The artist's name appears on the front pastedown ("Drawings by Westley Horton"). Drawings are executed in pen and ink and watercolor, on sheets (most 15 x 20 cm) mounted to leaves of the album.
The drawings are humorous and playful. Each quotes a line or stanza of verse from Coleridge's poem, but none veritably depicts a scene from the poem as the author would have intended. The selections, and the ordering thereof, make no apparent attempt to maintain the original narrative. In many drawings, the marine settings are abandoned entirely, and in most the original mariners are replaced by anthropomorphized animals or by children. For example, the drawing on p. 5 depicts a group of monkeys (and two rabbits) setting sail on a primitive boat, to accompany the early stanza "The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared ..." For the shooting of the albatross (p. 8), a guilty fox is depicted in place of the mariner. Verse describing the mariner's thirst in the equatorial doldrums (p. 12) is depicted with a drawing of small black dog and forlorn tea cup, afloat on a meager raft. To accompany verse describing the mariner's voyage in the Antarctic (p. 14), there is a charming drawing of a polar bear comfortably lodged in a small hut, operating a bellows to stoke a fire. Other drawings are of similar spirit. The final two leaves quote verse from Shelley's Prometheus unbound and The Skylark, with similar drawings.
The selections of verse, together with quotations from Elizabeth Barrett Browning at beginning and end -- the latter, "Have you any answer, madam?" from Lady Geraldine's courtship -- may be clues that the volume was intended as a present from a rejected suitor, or possibly a plea following a proposal of marriage.
Subject Terms:
Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, 1772-1834. Rime of the ancient mariner -- Illustrations.
Ink drawings.
Humorous pictures.
Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, 1772-1834. Rime of the ancient mariner. Selections.
Shelley, Percy Bysshe, 1792-1822. Prometheus unbound. Selections.
Shelley, Percy Bysshe, 1792-1822. Skylark. Selections.
Browning, Elizabeth Barrett, 1806-1861. Lady Geraldine's courtship.

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