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Unusual Rubaiyat illustrations from Lawrence A. Patterson

August 18, 2021

Over the years, many different types of illustrations have been created by artists for FitzGerald’s Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Some have clear subject matter, which is easily related to particular verses in the poem. Others seem much more obscure and symbolic in content, and require careful interpretation. One version in the latter category is that illustrated by Lawrence A. Patterson, which was published privately in 1926 by Johnck, Kibbee and Co of San Francisco.

Patterson was an American artist who was born in California in 1896 and died there in 1964. We now know this thanks to recent work by Bob Forrest who has been exploring Patterson’s life and works. His full article (referenced below) tells us that after early military service overseas and other travels, Patterson was based in California as a teacher, though he also had considerable success in illustrating a number of books for different publishers.

Bob provides images of the artist’s illustrations for the Rubaiyat and other volumes, and he discusses in some detail the interpretation of Patterson’s difficult imagery. One Rubaiyat illustration, for Quatrain 49, is shown here.

The full write up of Bob’s research on Patterson can be found on the following link It shows yet again the varied life patterns of Rubaiyat artists as well as the great range of their work. Our thanks to Bob for sharing his research with us all.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 18, 2021 10:27 am

    Lovely line work illustration – beautiful

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