Mahlon Blaine was a twentieth century American artist who is
remembered chiefly today for his brilliant illustrations to many
books, both children's and adult. His mastery of line was, and
remains, unique and masterful. Likened, rightfully, to Aubrey
Beardsley, Blaine was another original mind, and his interest in
portraying the animal nature of humanity lost him a wider audience.
The only monograph on the artist so far published is The Art of
Mahlon Blaine (Peregrine Books, 1982), and this wonderful book,
which includes a deep insight into the artist by his colleague
Gershon Legman, contains a good cross-section of Blaine's colour and
b-&-w art and an excellent bibliography of Blaine books compiled by
Many other books illustrated by Blaine turn up commonly in
secondhand bookshops: his illustrated versions of Voltaire's Candide
and Sterne's A Sentimental Journey are frequently encountered. These
books are good examples of his work, but the enthusiast is advised
to pursue the many other Blaine-illustrated books, especially the
weird-fantastic fiction titles so perfectly-suited to his work.
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