An original, unmounted illustration for Alice Mary Hadfield's King Arthur and The Round Table executed in gouache and black ink. The illustration, showcasing Cammell's bold use of composition and combined confidence and sensitivity of line, shows two knights cowering on the floor before a hand holding a candle. Signed to the bottom left corner. The illustration measures 32.5cm x 22.8cm. Very good condition, with extremely light rubbing to the very outer edges. Published in the 1953 first edition (and subsequent reprints) by J. M. Dent in the UK and E. P. Dutton in America.
Donald Cammell was born in 1934 to a once-wealthy Scottish family with artistic and literary interests and connections. His father, Charles Cammell, a journalist and writer, wrote books about Lord Byron and Aleister Crowley, who was a family friend. It has been conjectured that Donald Cammell's association with Crowley as a child encouraged his interests in decadence, sex, and death, which ended up defining his approach to film decades later. A talented artist from a young age, Cammell attended the Royal Academy at sixteen and then studied with the Italian painter Piero Annigoni in Florence. He illustrated a small amount of books, then settled into a successful career as a Portrait painter. In the 1960s, fascinated by and increasingly entwined with London's growing bohemian counterculture, Cammell grew interested in film and began writing scripts, leaving painting behind. His directorial debut, Performance, a drug fueled, violent, sexually explicit gangster film and psychedelic meditation on identity and death starring Mick Jagger and James Fox earned a cult following despite its delayed release (owing to Warner Bros.' concerns about the film's controversial content) and initial dispassionate reviews, and remains his most popular and influential film. Cammell illustrated Alice Mary Hadfield's King Arthur and The Round Table at only eighteen, and his technical accomplishment as an artist is clear to see, particularly considering his young age. Even at this early point in his life, his predilection for darkly lurid aesthetics and concepts are starting to peek through, seen in his heavy use of deep shadows, with objects and characters often seeming to loom out of the darkness; and the frequent distortion of character's faces, as if in horror or madness.
Stock code: 19325