weekly book art: the name of the rose

by brandon as book art — brandon Mon 29 May 2006 2:33 am

William of BaskervilleYes. The Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco. A wonderful book. But, if you are like me, you saw the movie before you read the book, and you spent a good 120 pages concentrating, trying, forcing yourself not to see Sean Connery every time William of Baskerville opened his mouth, which is really quite often; and then the effort not to read aloud paragraphs of William’s explications in your terrible, terrible faux-Connery voishe. Well then. A public service:

Brother William’s physical appearance was at the time such as to attract the attention of the most inattentive observer. His height surpassed that of a normal man and he was so thin that he seemed still taller. His eyes were sharp and penetrating; his thin and slightly beaked nose gave his countenance the expression of a man on the lookout, save in certain moments of sluggishness of which I shall speak. His chin also denoted a firm will, though the long face covered with freckles – such as I often saw among those born between Hibernia and Northumbria – could occasionally express hesitation and puzzlement. In time I realized that what seemed a lack of confidence was only curiosity, but at the beginning I knew little of this virtue, which I thought, rather, a passion of the covetous spirit. I believed instead that the rational spirit should not indulge such passion, but feed only on the Truth, which (I thought) one knows from the outset.
Boy that I was, I was first, and most deeply, struck by some clumps of yellowish hair that protruded from his ears, and by his thick blond eyebrows. He had perhaps seen fifty springs and was therefore already very old…

It’s not easy to bring to concrete form a description that’s so physiognomic and yet possessed of strange turns; I had particular trouble visualizing freckles on a fifty-year-old, especially a medieval fifty-year-old subject to the health standards of the time. But this turned out pretty well for a quick color job at 3 in the morning, perhaps. I may shudder later. In any case, drawing it purged me of the Connery image rather well, and hopefully looking at it will do a little of the same for whomever stumbles upon my little post here. The Name of the Rose really is a wonderful book.


  1. Comment by fossfor — May 31, 2006 at 5:48 am

    this is a very nice illo, i like the patchy way you did the candle light, very subtle.
    I read the book a few years before seeing the film, great book, grotty film. If have to see one more film with Sean Connery I shall scream! the last one was the League of Gentlemen, again, a fantastic comic book made into a terrible film.

  2. Comment by brandon — May 31, 2006 at 10:54 am

    I never did read the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Note to self.

    I remember very little of the movie version of The Name of The Rose, incuding its general quality, except for Sean Connery, and the sex scene.

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