Friday, July 10, 2009

His drawings were grand

As I flipped through the sale bins at our local library a few years back, this blue cover caught my eye because it looked suspiciously similar to the illustration style of Innuendo’s cover artwork.

Sure enough, it was a compendium of images by the same artist, J. J. Grandville, whose real name was Jean Ignace Isidore Gérard (1803–1847), a French caricaturist whose forté was integrating human and animal characteristics with remarkable realism.

I wonder who in the Queen camp came across Grandville’s work? Was it Freddie, who probably knew about him since his art school days (just like he knew about Dadd); or was it Roger, who has done his share of art directing album covers; or Brian, whose interest in science fiction might have led him to Grandville’s illustrations at some point?

A quick check on Wikipedia shows that the only other contemporary musical act to incorporate Grandville drawings into their marketing was Alice in Chains. However, an Internet search failed to find samples of their album artwork with Grandville’s illustrations, so I'm at a loss as to the extent to which they used his work. Whatever the case, it’s probably safe to assume that Grandville is most closely aligned with Queen at the moment.

It’s too bad that Grandville died at the young age of 44. Unlike Freddie’s death, however, there doesn’t seem to be information on how Grandville died. All Internet sources that I checked don’t mention the circumstances surrounding his death. Although I could check the book I’ve got posted here for this biographical detail, it’s packed away in a box right now so his death will have to remain a mystery for little while longer, I suppose.

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