David Esslemont

Illustrations for 'To Autumn' by John Keats

John Keats, 1795–1821, was an English Romantic poet. He wrote ‘To Autumn’ in September 1819 and mentions it in a letter to his friend John Reynolds:

‘How beautiful the season is now. How fine the air – a temperate sharpness about it. Really, without joking, chaste weather – Dian skies. I never liked stubble-fields so much as now – aye, better than the chilly green of the Spring. Somehow, a stubble- field looks warm, in the same way that some pictures look warm. This struck me so much in my Sunday’s walk that I composed upon it.’

Thirty-six individual paintings were made as illustrations to the poem. They were created in pairs, as facing pages. As the poem comprises three, eleven-line stanzas, an additional three images were used to balance the double page spreads.

Painted with acrylic inks, on BFK Rives paper, each illustrates one line from the poem which is incorporated calligraphically. (For the book the line itself was added digitally, reversed out in white).

The bigger picture
Each image is based on a detail from a photograph of a maple tree on Bedford Street in Minneapolis. Seen all together, the bigger picture is revealed in a fractured montage.

Individual paintings are 465 x 290 mm (18.3 x 11.4 inches); together they create a picture 2.79 x 1.74 m (9.15 x 5.7 feet).

Price on application.


To Autumn at luther

To Autumn at the Preus Library, Luther College, Decorah, Iowa
2.79 x 1.74 m (9.15 x 5.7 feet)

To Autumn at Luther

To Autumn at the Preus Library, Luther College, Decorah, Iowa
Here, rotated 180 degrees
2.3 x 1.71 m (7.5 x 5.6 feet)

To Autumn title page

To Autumn title page
465 x 290 mm (18.3 x 11.4 inches) single painting

To Autumn pp 1-2

To Autumn pp 1-2
465 x 290 mm (18.3 x 11.4 inches) single painting

To Autumn pp 3-4

To Autumn pp 3-4
465 x 290 mm (18.3 x 11.4 inches) single painting

To Autumn pp 5-6

To Autumn pp 5-6
465 x 290 mm (18.3 x 11.4 inches) single painting

To Autumn pp 7-8

To Autumn pp 7-8
465 x 290 mm (18.3 x 11.4 inches) single painting

To Autumn pp 9-10

To Autumn pp 9-10
432 x 279 mm (17 x 11 ins)

To Autumn printsTo Autumn prints To Autumn paintingsTo Autumn paintings