[Pala late – Ariel: mrni jagorri -, kai kamlas “E Balval ande le Selchinde”… Me xalem lako ilo !]
I read Kenneth Grahame’s “The Wind in the Willows” (in a paperback, clumsily illustrated edition) as a teenager, after my father died, and it soothed my mind and helped me to stand the blow in a way I could not explain, beyond saying it made me feel snug and somewhat protected. Naturally, this book still is among my favourites.
When I read it again, two decades later -perhaps, trying to reproduce the same sensations I had at fifteen years-old-, I already knew the illustrations by Inga Moore and, contemplating them, I though “This is it. This story “looks” like this, and not in any other way.” (Which is, of course objectionable, but also very valid; and frankly speaking, I must say that I love the illustrations as much as the tale itself -and I do love it a lot-. So here lays the secret, as in every creative endeavour…)
Inga Moore loves the English countryside landscape and, out of this love, she has developed a charming, truly beautiful style, richly detailed and textural -amidst the trends toward minimalistic or even abstract children’s book illustration-; and brought it to great achievements, like her work for Grahame’s “The Wind in the Willows” or, more recently, for Frances Hodgson Burnett’s “The Secret Garden”.
Moore works eclectically, through a multi-layered approach, using graphite and coloured pencils, ink, watercolour and even oil.
She is somewhat -or very- reclusive, and as far as I know, she does not have an official web presence. Of course others have posted her work, but not at all as much, and as throughly, as it deserves, with high resolution scans of the illustrations.
I’ve scanned about half of the plates, most of them at 400 dpi, taking much care to be true to the sprightly colours and delicate grading (very especially in their unending palette of greens, blues and greys). This has resulted in large archives (about 6-7 Mb each), that allow enough magnification to appreciate the tinier details of such a meticulous artist as Moore is.
Here you are twelve of them, belonging to the first three chapters (and the cover) of K. Grahame’s novel: