I’ve stumbled upon a wonder!
Sidney H. Sime (sometimes referred to as the Master of the Mysterious) was a gifted English painter, cartoonist and illustrator, often compared to Aubrey Beardsley and Arthur Rackham.
I’ve put together some images for this post, as well as a YouTube video at the end which showcases a Tarot deck featuring Sime’s work.
Many of Sidney H. Sime’s illustrations were for the beautifully odd stories of Lord Dunsany (Edward J.M.D. Plunkett, 1878-1957). You can read a collection of his shorts, The Last Book of Wonder (1916) for free over on archive.org. Titles include Why the Milkman Shudders when he Perceives the Dawn, The Bird of the Difficult Eye, The Long Porter’s Tale, The Loot of Loma, The Secret of the Sea, A Story of Land and Sea and The Exiles Club. archive.org also has Dunsany’s The Gods of Pegana, featuring Sime’s illustrations, Time and the Gods and The Sword of Welleran, and other stories, originally published by G. Allen & Sons, it’s 290 pages of wonder.
“The partnership of illustrator Sidney H. Sime and fantasy writer Lord Dunsany (also poet, dramatist, and grand chess master and pistol champion of Ireland) is without peer in the annals of fantasy illustration. It is almost inconceivable to imagine a Dunsany story – with its exquisite fusion of elements from Greek and Celtic myths (Dunsany was friendly with Yeats and the writers of the Celtic Twilight), Arabian Nights adventure, and the solemn harmonies of the Old Testament – without the drawings of Sidney H. Sime. Sime has been called the “greatest imaginative artist since William Blake,” and aside from their fin-de-siecle elegance, and delicacy of line recalling Persian miniatures, Sime’s drawings manifest that rare faculty of being able to give definitive, and often uncanny, form to the poet’s merest suggestions.” – from ArtRenewal.com