A collection of both mundane and mystical scenes, A Book of Images is an odd work by W.T.Horton (1864-1919). Mystic, illustrator and author, Horton created minimalistic black and white drawings similar (but not as good, honestly) to those of Aubrey Beardsley and Charles Ricketts. Images of symbolic urban visions and religious characters are introduces by none the less than Irish poet W.B. Yeats, who sponsored Horton’s initiation into the occult organization the Golden Dawn and reference the illustrator in his poem about Golden Dawn called “All Souls’ Night.
All Art that is not mere story-telling, or mere portraiture, is symbolic, and has the purpose of those symbolic talismans which mediaeval magicians made with complex colours and forms, and bade their patients ponder over daily, and guard with holy secrecy ; for it entangles, in complex colours and forms, a part of the Divine Essence. A person or a landscape that is a part of a story or a portrait, evokes but so much emotion as the story or the portrait can permit without loosening the bonds that make it a story or a portrait ; but if you liberate a person or a landscape from the bonds of motives and their actions, causes and their effects, and from all bonds but the bonds of your love, it will change under your eyes, and become a symbol of an infinite emotion, a perfected emotion, a part of the Divine Essence ; for we love nothing but the perfect, and our dreams make all things perfect, that we may love them. Religious and visionary people, monks and nuns, and medicine-men, and opium-eaters, see symbols in their trances ; for religious and visionary thought is thought about perfection and the way to perfection ; and symbols are the only things free enough from all bonds to speak of perfection. W.B.Yeats
The book (and its introduction) is freely available online on Archive.org.
Pierce, David. “William Horton (1864-1919).” Yeats’s Worlds: Ireland, England, and the Poetic Imagination. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995. 326. Print
Ray, Gordon Norton, Thomas V Lange, and Charles V Passela. “William T. Horton (1864-1919).” The Illustrator and the Book in England from 1790 to 1914. New York: Pierpont Morgan Library, 1976. 325, 202-203. Print.
Harper, George Mills. W.B. Yeats and W.T. Horton : the record of an occult friendship. Atlantic Highlands, N.J. : Humanities Press, 1980. Print.
Horton, W. T.. A Book of Images. London: Unicorn Press, 1898. Print.
— William Thomas Horton (1864-1919) a selection of his work. Ed. Roger Ingpen. London: Ingpen and Grant, 1929. Print.
Via Mika Savela