Friday, 23 August 2013

The Bridges Between the Worlds

‘The Bridges between the Worlds’ by J.J. Grandville
Un Autre Monde, or Another World, is perhaps one of the most famous works by the 19th century French illustrator and caricaturist J.J. Grandville. The ‘other’ world, created by the central characters of Dr. Krackq, Dr. Puff and Dr. Hahblle, is a satirical depiction of 19th century Parisian society, full of parody and political allusions.

Later acknowledged as an influence on the Surrealists, Grandville’s illustrations could also be regarded as early representations of science fiction:- visions of the future that drew from the contemporary interest in popular astronomy. ‘The Bridges between the Worlds’ (see above), also known as ‘The Bridge over the Stars’ and ‘The Footbridge between Worlds’, is one such example. A strange fusion of industrial innovation and intergalactic exploration, there’s something instantly appealing and memorable about this image, probably accounting for why it is one of the more commonly reproduced prints from Un Autre Monde. Fortunately, an entire copy of the book has been digitised and uploaded onto Flickr, which makes for easy viewing of Grandville’s beautiful illustrations.

A copy of Un Autre Monde is held in Special Collections, University of Leeds Library, and was featured in the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery’s exhibition ‘Visions of the Future’ (4 April - 11 June 2011).

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