Many of you will be starting to feel christmassy, so I thought I’d share with you a Christmas-themed illustration by Edward Gorey. It cracked me up when I first saw it, and has on occasions since.
In ‘A Heart-Warming Christmas’, created for the December 1971 edition of National Lampoon magazine, an impoverished family are visited by ‘Sir Giles Crockby, the Pilchard King’, a wealthy benefactor bearing a collection of extravagant and utterly useless Christmas gifts.
Gorey numbered the objects in the drawing and described them in the caption – I have typed out the descriptions below the image for your convenience.
Edward Gorey, from his Wikipedia description, was famous for his ‘vaguely unsettling narrative scenes in Victorian and Edwardian settings.’
Gorey populates his worlds with thin children in nightclothes, pale, boney women, and tall, solemn men in long coats. His stories are unsettling because of the way he merely suggests the horror in them, barely ever showing it. Despite his name, there are few gory details. Gore is replaced by foreboding and tension. We imagine the moment of awfulness; we become complicit in it.
Gorey spent his life alone, never marrying. Instead, like any good eccentric artist, he spent his life surrounded by cats. Here is Gorey with his cats:
Read a longer and better researched article about Gorey here.