One of the surest tests [of a poet’s superiority or inferiority] is the way in which a poet borrows. Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different than that from which it is torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion. A good poet will usually borrow from authors remote in time, or alien in language, or diverse in interest.
T. S. Eliot, p. 114 in The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism, 1920
Likewise, a good illustrator welds the theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different and sometimes even funnier than that from which it is torn.
And Lewis Carroll may have borrowed from Thomas Gray.
All art is infested by other art.
(Leo Steinberg, in Art about Art, 1979)
Gustave Doré was an inspired master thief too:Segments from:
※ Plate I (mirror view) of Gustave Doré’s illustrations to Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote (1863),
※ Matthias Grünewald’s Temptation of St Anthony (c. between 1512 and 1516, a panel of the Isenheim Altarpiece, now located at Musée Unterlinden, Colmar, France).
The borrowing never ends:
2018-02-18, update: 2022-09-05
2021-07-19, update: 2022-07-17
※ [top left]: Illustration to Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark (1876) by Henry Holiday: The Vanishing (detail from lower left side depicting some weeds which seem to have some fun with each other)
※ [top right]: John Martin: The Bard (ca. 1817, detail from lower left side, retinex filtered and vectorized, then slightly horizontally compressed)
overview | Twitter
2018-02-17, updated: 2022-06-22
Bycatch (found in 2013) from my Snark hunt:
more | John Tufail
2017-09-26, update: 2021-08-26
2018-10-03, updated: 2020-03-01
You find many renderings of John Martin‘s The Bard in the Internet. I think that in this comparison the left one is the right one and that the right one is not John Martin’s.
In Henry Holiday’s illustrations to Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark there are several references to John Martin’s original painting. Some are funny, some are spooky.
2018-10-24, update: 2019-02-09
2017-09-13, update: 2018-10-11
Usually elements borrowed by Henry Holiday from other artists are inconspicuously integrated into Holiday’s illustrations. Here is an exception. The monstrance-shaped tree is just a small element in John Martin’s The Bard. In Holiday’s illustration it is more prominent.
more | crucifix
The Beaver’s Lesson | The Bard
2017-09-16, updated: 2023-11-16