This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.
These oddities, from fancy drawn,
May surely raise the question,
Will DARWIN say- by Chance they’re formed,
Or ‘Natural Selection?’
Edward William Cooke originally published Grotesque Animals : invented, drawn, and described in 1872, this version is a reprint from 1975. Cooke was an English landscape and marine painter who was raised among artists including his father and uncle who were both line engravers.
Cooke himself was a gifted engraver and published a series of books with plates related to shipping when he was only eighteen, you can see an example from one to your left. The Fine Arts Library has one of these volumes entitled Sixty five plates of shipping and craft, drawn and etched by E. W. Cooke. Seeing his more typical subject consisting of ships only makes these drawings of strange creatures even more jarring and shows a more fantastical side of his personality.
I was struck in particular by the image below, it drew to mind the terrifying creature from Pan’s Labyrinth that had eyeballs in its hands and consumed children for food. To see more “invented” animals look at this volume in the Fine Arts Library. Grotesque animals : invented, drawn, and described / by E.W. Cooke. London : Longmans, Green, 1975.
Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager for contributing this post.