About the Artist
Edmund Dulac was a French-born, naturalized British painter, author and illustrator, whose work is as charming and sought after today as it was when he created it, in the first half of the twentieth century.
Early Life and Education
Edmund Dulac was born in Toulouse, France in 1882. Although he showed a penchant for drawing and painting at an early age, Dulac chose to study law the at University of Toulouse, while taking art classes at the Ecole des Beaux Arts. Winning a prize at the Ecole, and finding that his law studies bored him, Dulac left law school and enrolled full-time in the Ecole.
In 1901 and 1903, Dulac’s works won the Gran Prix at the Ecole’s annual competitions. He received a scholarship to the Academie Julien in Paris, but stayed there for just three weeks before traveling to London to begin, what turned out to be, his dazzling career as a painter and illustrator.
Dulac arrived in London at just about time that the printing process of color separation made it possible for printers to reproduce images that were very close to the original. Before color separation, much more labor intensive and expensive methods were used, such as wood block printing or leaving pages blank for illustrations to be hand painted onto the same quality paper used for the text of the book. With color separation, the images were printed on a coated paper and were not bound into the book with the original text. Instead, the illustrations were tipped in, or glued, to blank pages. This process was used for special editions, or gift books, and were very popular during the early part of the twentieth century.
The publishing house of J. M. Dent gave Dulac his first commission. He was to provide at least sixty watercolors for a new edition of the complete novels of the Bronte sisters. This commission was the beginning of Dulac’s very successful career as an illustrator, in England and America. Dulac became a naturalized British citizen in 1912.
Shortly after separating from his wife, Elsa, Dulac lived with author Helen Beauclerk. The couple became life long companions, and Dulac often used Beauclerk as a model for his illustrations. He also illustrated her novels.
Some of Dulac’s best know works are his illustrations for the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, Stories from Hans Christian Andersen and The Sleeping Beauty and Other fairy Tales.
Dulac also designed postage stamps and banknotes before his death, in London, in 1953.
Edmund Dulac and Helen Beauclerk
Dulac in Kensington
Edmund Dulac I now drew near him again Illustration from Jane Eyre 1905
Edmund Dulac Helen Beauclerk was a model for this folk tale illustration
Dulac in Kensington
Edmund Dulac Postage Stamp Design for Coronation ofKing George Vl 1937