What if you spent every day looking for One Beautiful Thing?

Grandfather of Goth


Edward Gorey

Since it’s Halloween, I thought it would be fun to explore one of my favorite artist’s work. This is the macabre-yet-marvelous world of Edward Gorey. I have long loved him for his wit, which when paired with his wonderful ominous drawings makes for a thoroughly entertaining whole. His wordplay is particularly nimble, as evidenced in my favorite of his books, The Gashlycrumb Tinies. It’s a book of drawings and rhyming couplets showing how 26 children died, and while the subject matter should be maudlin and sad, it manages instead to be quirky and fun.

“G is for George smothered under a rug.
H is for Hector done in by a thug.”

-Gashlycrumb Tinies

Because Gorey’s art typically makes use of Victorian and Edwardian settings, I was very surprised to learn he was only born in 1925 and not at the turn of the century. It seems likely that his maternal grandmother, the well-known 19th century greeting card illustrator Helen St. John Harvey, had a lot of influence on his style. Though he studied art for only one semester, Gorey did manage to graduate with a degree in French from Harvard, where he occasionally achieved the Dean’s List (and was frequently threatened with expulsion). He must have been a lot of fun! While his published books would certainly fit the term graphic novels, Gorey rejected that characterization and instead said they were “Victorian novels all scrunched up.”

His work was described as sinister whimsy, which is exactly right. His art has inspired many creative works from Monty Python to Lemony Snicket to Tim Burton and Wes Anderson’s iconic film styles, and it can be seen all over the goth fashion world as well.

You can see more of Edward Gorey’s fantastic art on the official Instagram of his estate, which account benefits the animal welfare causes Mr. Gorey championed. You can also view much of his work on collector/seller Drummond Miles’s Edward Gorey Instagram. You can also check out more about Gorey on the Edward Gorey House website.

Author: Donna from MyOBT

I have committed to spending part of every day looking for at least one beautiful thing, and sharing what I find with you lovelies!

15 thoughts on “Grandfather of Goth

  1. ‘Sinister whimsy’…perfect.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I do love “pen and ink” and he is very creative but…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Edward Gorey is a National Treasure. I only discovered him as an adult but little me would have gobbled up all of his writings and illustrations.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I vaguely remember his work during the opening titles of “Mystery!” that my mother and nana used to watch on PBS, but I didn’t really get into him until adulthood either. I now own quite a few of his “children’s” books (which are way too dark and too good for children).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I can admire the art that went into each one even I don’t like most of the. Hal

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I too was surprised to discover that he was alive (until but a couple of years ago). Joyfully absurd macabre. Also, not nearly as good tho, you should check out Tim Burton’s Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy. I don’t really know, but it would seem clear that Burton was a big fan of Gorey.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. His work is indeed sinister whimsey! I first learned of his work from Mystery!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I adore his work! And this was a good reminder that his biography is on my to-read shelf!

    Liked by 1 person

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.