Monday, 27 July 2009

The Sword in the Stone

T.H. White's The Sword in the Stone is one of my favourite childhood books. These illustrations are from a 1939 edition of the book - only a year after it first came out - for Reader's Union from Collins Publishers, London. Gib (below) identifies the illustrator as White himself. The drawings have a 'Thurberesque' charm to them.

There are a number of similarities to the designs of the 1963 Disney adaptation, namely the walrus-whiskered Sir Ector, the plain clothes of Merlyn and the snarling pike. The image of Merlyn dozing is very similar to a Bill Peet story sketch for the film.

Also depicted is Madame Mim as an Aullay, a creature 'as much bigger than an elephant as an elephant is larger than a sheep. It was a sort of horse with an elephant's trunk.' Peet would later contemplate using this creature in the film.

Visit Michael Sporn's blog for more Merlin and Mim, and to see Peet's sketches of Merlin dozing and Mim as the Aullay.


Gib said...

i'm fairly certain these are done by T.H White himself, they have a similar look to the illustrations he did for his book 'the goshawk'

Luke Farookhi said...

Thanks Gib. I will add this information to the post.