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Fred Adlington – a new Rubaiyat artist discovered by Bob Forrest

January 20, 2019

All of us who have researched the many illustrators who have worked on FitzGerald’s Rubaiyat know that there are unknown artists out there waiting to be identified and others whose work has not yet received serious attention.  Fred Adlington (c1891-1931) is one in the latter group.  As Bob Forrest puts it in his new article about this artist “I checked in Douglas Taylor’s Index of Potter’s Bibliography of 1929. There was no mention of Fred Adlington in there, nor any mention of him in Jos Coumans’ Bibliography of 2010, nor in Bill Martin & Sandra Mason’s Art of Omar Khayyam of 2007. Adlington seemed to have slipped under all our radars.”

Bob’s tell the story of how he came to be aware of Adlington’s work.  “One day, in a second–hand bookshop in South Manchester, when I was looking for something else entirely, I also asked – as I usually do – if the shop had anything interesting in the Rubaiyat line. The man behind the counter disappeared for a few moments, then reappeared with a book which he handed to me, saying, “It’s a fiver, if you want it.” … A glance at the title–page [shown below] revealed that Frank Brangwyn had done the designs for it, but a glance at the plates [one illustrated here] showed that they were by a Fred Adlington, a name I’d never heard of at the time, and whose name was not mentioned on the title page, nor anywhere else in the book for that matter. Needless to say, a fiver was duly handed over.”

The full story of what Bob has found out about Adlington, his work on the Rubaiyat and much more can be found on Bob’s web site on http://www.bobforrestweb.co.uk/The_Rubaiyat/N_and_Q/Fred_Adlington/Fred_Adlington.htm .  It is a tale both of publishers cutting corners and of a neglected artist who was also a talented musician and arranger.  There do not appear to be any musical works by Adlington with a specific Rubaiyat theme, but some have an Oriental flavour.

Altogether Bob has given us an insight into another fascinating and unknown story linked to FitzGerald’s Rubaiyat.  As before, we are grateful to him for sharing his findings with us all.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. dantonoday permalink
    January 23, 2019 3:41 pm

    Another artist discovered! Eight pictures, each dedicated to a specific quatrain, makes Fred Adlington a true illustrator of FitzGerald’s Rubaiyat. Adlington’s beautifully done black and white images were a pleasure to view. By adding details about the books in which they were found and the artist, Bob Forrest did an excellent job in introducing this new illustrator which for me was a welcome mid-Winter treat—Thank you Bob!

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