Saturday, May 21, 2011

Robert W. Chambers's Artwork for The King in Yellow

I've long understood that some of the artwork that appears on various covers of editions (but not the first printing) of The King in Yellow (1895) by Robert W. Chambers, was believed to be based on artwork by Chambers himself.  At last the evidence has emerged!  It comes in the form of original artwork by Chambers for a publicity poster from 1895, from the estate of Forrest J. Ackerman.  A truly gorgeous poster!

A close-up shows the signature in the mountains to the right:
Here you can see a few of the modified versions that appear on books, including a later printing of the Neely edition and the Ace paperback from the 1960s:

For information about the restoration of the original artwork, there is an article here.

Chambers's own color-scheme is infinitely more seductive. I'd really like to see more of Chambers's own art.


  1. I wonder what the two spheres lower right are.

  2. Dale: I wonder that too. And I like the very odd puzzle-piece-shaped ends of the cloak. I wonder if there is a passage in the book that this image might illustrate?

  3. Well the first one isn't too hard:

    'Along the shore the cloud waves break,
    The twin suns sink beneath the lake,'

  4. And the "odd puzzle-piece-shaped ends of the cloak" are, presumably, the "tatters of the king" mentioned later in Cassilda's song.

  5. The scalloped tatters of the King must hide Yhtill forever.