Warwick Hutton

I've just rediscovered the work of Warwick Hutton, a British author and illustrator of retellings--mythological, biblical, folk and fairy tales of all sorts. Hutton's illustrations are rendered in delicate pen-and-ink and watercolor wash and characterized by spacious sea and landscapes; oversized yet oddly graceful figures, of both people and animals; and lots of interesting compositional elements. We own only one of his books, a retelling by Susan Cooper of The Silver Cow: A Welsh Tale (Atheneum, 1985), in which the Tylwyth Teg reward a farmer's son for his playing of the harp with a beautiful, bountiful silver cow--until the greedy farmer goes a bit too far, and loses her and all the silver cows that had been born to her: the treasures of his herd. (Hutton also illustrated Cooper's retelling of The Selkie Girl; I don't like selkie stories, so I haven't read that one.)

I especially like Hutton's own retellings of Greek myths, though; these include Theseus and the Minotaur (my favorite), Perseus, and Persephone, as well as the Homeric stories of The Trojan Horse and Odysseus and the Cyclops. All of these are, sadly, out of print. Hutton himself, who was also a painter and, like his father John, a glass engraver, died in 1994 at the age of 45. I've added his books to my "must buy if I see them at the used book sale" list. They are really lovely.