The Jungle Book Prints -
The Detmold Brothers

About the Artists

The following item is a summary of part of an article in Thieme-Becker Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Kunstler 1913, loosely translated from the German by Dr Benito Müller.

Charles Maurice Detmold and Edward Julius Detmold were English graphic artists, twins, born on 21 November 1883. Due to the illness of their father, they grew up in the care of their uncle, Dr E B Shuldham, who had acquired a notable collection of Japanese woodprints of plants and animals. This encouraged the twins to commence drawing animals and plants at a very early age, and resulted in a debut at the age of 13 at the Royal Academy and the Royal Institute of Watercolour Painters, with nature studies in the Japanese style. The Detmolds subsequently learned techniques of watercolour etching and of colour printing with copper plates.

In 1898 they published their first sequence of colour etchings of animals and flowering plants in the Japanese style. These were much admired and were quickly out of print. They achieved real success in 1900 in a special exhibition at the Fine Art Society's Gallery in London.

In later works the influence of Albrecht Dürer becomes apparent. The watercolour illustrations for Kipling's Jungle Book were published in 1903 by Macmillan as coloured lithographs, making the twins ‘notoriously popular'. These illustrations, despite a certain colourfulness and fantasy in inventing tropical jungle scenery, still possess an intimate charm and display the masterly craft and high technical standard of their previous works.

Maurice Detmold, who was probably the more gifted of the twins, became incapacitated and died at the age of 25 in 1908. Edward Detmold went on to carry out further illustrations notably Aesop's Fables, and Maeterlinck's Hours of Gladness and the Life of the Bee. He continued with animal compositions and nature impressions, but in pursuit of his career, worked almost exclusively in coloured lithographs.

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