A Selection from The Canterbury Tales

Working drawing for the cover of <em>The Canterbury Tales</em>, 1988

Working drawing for the cover of: Selina Hastings & Reg Cartwright, A Selection from The Canterbury Tales, (Walker, 1988), RAC/3.  ©Reg Cartwright.

Reg has illustrated several books by Selina Hastings, including A Selection from The Canterbury Tales, first published in 1988.  Hastings’ retelling of The Canterbury Tales enjoyed great success and was described by Chris Powling in The Observer as ‘altogether a glorious book'*.

'The illustrations that enliven this edition are colourful and attractive, sharply defined, and with some delightful detail to suggest the medieval scene.  The characters resemble puppets, depicted in a lively and amusing way that well suits the style of the narration.'**

*Chris Powling in The Observer, (4 December 1988), RAC/11

**The Times Educational Supplement, (10 March 1989), RAC/11

Painting for the cover of <em>The Canterbury Tales</em>, 1988

Painting for the cover of: Selina Hastings & Reg Cartwright, A Selection from The Canterbury Tales, (Walker, 1988), from a transparency, RAC/7.  ©Reg Cartwright.

'To my mind, there's no fun to be had riding along in solemn silence.  What I propose is this: that as you go, each of you in turn shall tell a story and he whose story gives the most pleasure shall be treated by the rest to a splendid dinner here on your return.'*

*The innkeeper of 'The Tabard' in Southwark addresses a party of pilgrims preparing to travel to Canterbury, from: Selina Hastings & Reg Cartwright, A Selection from The Canterbury Tales, (Walker, 1988), pp. 14-15, SCM 13331 

Original mounted painting from 'The Nun's Priest's Tale' in <em>The Canterbury Tales</em>, 1988

Original mounted painting from 'The Nun's Priest's Tale' in: Selina Hastings & Reg Cartwright, A Selection from The Canterbury Tales, (Walker, 1988), RAC/2.  ©Reg Cartwright.

'Cartwright never sends the original artwork to his publishers, but instead prefers to submit … colour transparencies.  [His] reasoning behind doing this is that he likes to work at a particular size which is sometimes too big for the publishers’ scanning machines.  Furthermore [he] … feels that the original artwork should always belong to the artist.  Indeed he doesn’t see why he should risk sending his artwork … [as] it could easily get stolen or damaged.'*

The original painting of this scene from 'The Nun's Priest's Tale' is part of the Reg and Ann Cartwright Archive and is presently on display in the basement of the David Wilson Library.

*Frances Quinn, Extended Comparative Essay based on a recorded interview with Reg Cartwright, (undated), p. 5, RAC/16

'A hideous old hag sitting squat upon the ground' from 'The Wife of Bath's Tale' in <em>The Canterbury Tales</em>, 1988

'A hideous old had sitting squat upon the ground' from 'The Wife of Bath's Tale' in: Selina Hastings & Reg Cartwright, A Selection from The Canterbury Tales, (Walker, 1988), p. 64, SCM 13331.  ©Reg Cartwright.

'Sir Knight,' she called to him.  'What are you seeking?  Tell me, for I may be able to help you.'

'Madam, I wish you could.  Unless I can discover what it is that women most desire, I am as good as dead.  If you can tell me that, I'll pay whatever price you name.'

The crone fixed him with a bleary eye.  'Swear to do what I ask,' she croaked, 'and I'll tell you the answer to your question.'*

*Selina Hastings & Reg Cartwright, A Selection from The Canterbury Tales, (Walker, 1988), p. 63, SCM 13331 

Creatures of all shapes, sizes and colours
A Selection from The Canterbury Tales