Edward Julius Detmold Biography

Edward Julius Detmold




Edward Julius Detmold, painter, printmaker, and illustrator, was born in London in 1883. He and his twin brother Chalres Maurice Detmold would become noted artists by the age of 13, and among the most celebrated British artists of their time.

Raised and provided patronage by their uncle Edward Shuldhan, the brothers studied painting and printmaking under the tutelage of their uncle Henry Detmold, also an artist. In 1898, at the age of 13, the brothers exhibited watercolors at the Royal Academy, and issued a portfolio of color etchings that same year that quickly sold out and brought them notoriety. In 1899 they began illustrating books jointly, begining with Pictures from Birdland, which was commissioned and published by J.M. Dent. This was followed by a portfolio of watercolors inspired by Kipling's The Jungle Book. Their tandem success, however, was ended with the sudden death by suicide of Charles in 1908. Edward threw himself into his work, beginning with a an illustrated Aesop's Fables that included 23 color plates and numerous pen and ink drawings. Thus began a decade of intense productivity, in which the artist's execptional eye for the detail and complexities of nature allowed him to deftly carve out his place among the best illustrators and artists of the time.

He continued to illustrate numerous books, including Maurice Maeterlinck's The Life of the Bee, Camille Lemonnier's Birds and Beasts and The Book of Baby Beasts, Maeterlinck's  Hours of Gladness, his own Twenty Four Nature Pictures, and Jean-Henri Fabre's Book of Insects and more. In 1922 he began etching again after Campbell Dodgson praised the brothers' work in the Print Collector's Quarterly.

By 1921 Detmold had reached the end of his zenith, after witnessing the harrowing fallout of World War I and feeling a general disillusionment with his art. Though he went on to illustrate one last edition of Arabian Nights in 1924, he had effectively ended his career with the publishing of a literary work -- a book of aphorisms-- he titled simply "Life". He retired to Montgomeryshire, and died in 1957, also from suicide.