Saturday, February 23, 2013

Remembering Edward Gorey …

When I signed in to the Internet yesterday I was pleased to see that Google had used a series of Edward Gorey illustrations to spell their name. Obviously they were celebrating his birthday, Feb. 22nd, 1925 and, since he is a favorite of mine, I was pleased to see that.

After his death in 2000 his home, “Elephant House” on Cape Cod, was converted to a museum celebrating his life’s work and his two nephews are the curators. Or, at least they were the curators both times that I visited.

The rambling house is over 200 yrs. old and seems to derive it’s name from the strange siding. It is wood that is weathered and wrinkled with age, like the skin of an elephant. Gorey was eccentric enough to want to keep it like that and wouldn’t think of having it scraped and repainted.

He was an eclectic and creative artist with many of his works geared to children although most editors shunned them as being unsuitable because of their dark humor. His “Alphabet Book”, for example, depicts the perils of childhood … example:

Edward Gorey produced more than 70 books in his lifetime and he never ran out of ideas. He constantly “pushed the envelope”, testing and teasing his readers.   After our tour the nephews told us to wander at our leisure and we did. Every nook and cranny was filled with remembrances of Edward Gorey... books, paintings, puppets, stuffed animals and even gravestones out in a garden with the chiseled letters R.I.P. It is a museum unlike any I’ve been to before or since and it was great                                        

It truly lived up to it’s name...GOREY.


Blogger Syd said...

Thanks for sharing this. I like the house. I appreciated your email about the vultures. I have not seen nests either.

3:51 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

I am not very familiar with his works, but clearly, I need to remedy that.

5:35 PM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

I'm with Judy. I was intrigued by the Google images but knew nothing about the creator. Thanks for sparking an interest that I plan to pursue.

2:15 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I am such a Philistine that I had never heard of Edward Gorey.

7:09 AM  
Blogger NCmountainwoman said...

Gorey has long been a favorite in our house. We all love his great drawings and sense of humor.

9:14 AM  
Blogger possum said...

We (artsy majors) at school loved his stuff. He was so easy to imitate (and make much worse). Our alphabet book (with apologies to Gorey) was - well - what you can expect a bunch of looney art majors (and a couple bottles of wine)to come up with knowing it would never see the top of a publisher's desk.
Thanks for the memories! Lucky you to have seen his house!

3:04 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks for posting aunt Ginnie.

I don't know if you knew that your sister, Mary, would go to a restaurant in W. Barnstable and would often see Edward Gorey there. She took me one day when I was about 17 and indeed he was there and I was able to shake his hand briefly and thank him for all the creepy entertainment he had given me over the years. He was very eccentric and was wearing bright red lipstick and black eye liner as I remember it.

I was a huge fan from the time I was in my first year of high school. I can still recite every word of The Gashleycrumb Tinies (the alphabet book you mentioned) "A is for Amy who fell down the stairs, B is for Basil assaulted by bears" etc.

I called Gorey when I was in high school to see if he would come in as a guest. I pleaded with him, but he kept on saying "I'm sorry. I'm just not good at that sort of thing."

His pen and ink drawings are brilliant and worth looking at for anyone who is not familiar with his work.

Thanks again Ginnie!


6:18 PM  
Blogger Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I really enjoyed learning about Gorey and this museum. I hope to go to Boston soon and will try to visit this museum on the Cape.

10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I rmember him from the illustrations associated with Mystery, Thursdays on PBS. Also, Mom's birthday was February 22. Dianne

9:09 AM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

While I have heard of Edward Gory, this museum seems like a great road trip stop on a future trip. I seem to recall that some of his illustrations were used on a PBS Mystery intro. Do you knw f this is correct, Ginnie?

1:29 PM  

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