by Danny Garrett
In terms of illumination, this is probably the richest visual page in the book. In layout, design and vibrancy of color, it is just remarkable.
That is nine crowns in all! That is incredible, though admittedly three of those are Princess April’s coronets. Still…
But that’s only the beginning. King Thunderdum’s “imperial” crown contains a stunning vermillion cap, the bit of fabric that fills the inner space inside the golden circlet and beneath the arches. A true imperial crown would have a monde, or symbol of the world, at its pinnacle and under which the cap would reside. This actually makes Thunderdum superior to the King. Letitia chose not to include it. Perhaps that is because she wanted the kings to be equal. That certainly seems to be the case when she cocks the two King crowns together in the final illumination, when they gather with their followers.
The diadems, interesting and dynamic though they are, constitute the minor illuminations on this page. “Thunderdum” lies beneath a very interesting thunderstorm illumination – two clouds with a huge bolt of lightning entering them. This is immediately followed by another striking illumination of a
sunset. In this unusual visual vignette, purple and yellow rays strike a mountain range with pink clouds above. But what makes this illumination most unusual is that the (set) sun appears below the word “sundown.” Dynamic visual semiotics at play here, and it would be so wonderful if I could ask Letitia what prompted her to create these illuminations the way she did.
There’s even more. The final three illuminations are concise little paintings unto themselves. The first is another beautiful little vignette of a castle atop a steep hill under a full moon in a cloud-filled sky. And all in a simple deco frame. Just stunning.
No more so, however, that the next picture of the “Sandman”. This image is rich in color and meaning. A face – almost a mask, really – sits beneath an unusually beautiful top piece. The face is floating among cosmic billows sparkling with stars, all executed in vibrant colors of purple, violet and teal. Again, just stunning. To finish, we have “the feasting hall” illuminated with bowls and plates of food and fruit with soup and a decanter.
This page is so rich visually, that it could just as easily be viewed for meaning rather than read.