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More about Gilbert James and what happened to the artwork of his illustrations for the Rubaiyat

February 13, 2017

A couple of years ago, we posted an item about Gilbert James (1865-1941) who was one of the earliest illustrators of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.  This post was based on research by Bob Forrest, published in detail on his own website – for more information see https://omarkhayyamrubaiyat.wordpress.com/2015/05/12/gilbert-james-1865-1941-new-research-provides-important-insights-into-the-life-and-work-of-a-major-illustrator/ .

jamesfig-06brfBob Forrest has now published an addendum to this research, which tells us much more about what happened to the original artwork for various sets of James’ work on the Rubaiyat between 1896 and 1909.  Thanks to some hard work and some key finds in the Heron-Allen collection at the London Library, Bob, helped by a member of the Library staff, has managed to establish that Heron-Allen bought many of the original James illustrations.  Contacts with Heron-Allen’s family have established that the illustrations hung in the family home for many years.  But alas they were all destroyed in a fire when in storage in 1982.

The full story of this fascinating piece of research is to be found via the following link:  http://www.bobforrestweb.co.uk/The_Rubaiyat/N_and_Q/Gilbert_James/Addendum/Addendum.htm   Bob concludes his article with the provocative comment, ‘… though we know that many of James’s originals were destroyed in a fire in 1982, a few of them may still be ‘out there’ somewhere, awaiting discovery.’  We hope, perhaps, that Bob, or someone else, will come up with some further finds.

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