"A little deeper into the sea": William Hyde's illustrations to Ford Madox Ford's The Cinque Ports - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Conference Papers Year :

"A little deeper into the sea": William Hyde's illustrations to Ford Madox Ford's The Cinque Ports


The broad aim of this paper is to explore the representation of the sea in its interaction with the coastline of the British Isles. It focuses on Ford Madox Ford [Hueffer]’s The Cinque Ports (Blackwood and Sons, 1900) illustrated by the English artist William Hyde (1857-1925). The original Cinque (i.e. “five”) Ports are located on the English southern coast: Hastings, Sandwich, Dover, Romney and Hythe, to which have been added Rye and Winchelsea. They were granted specific “liberties” by royal charter in the 13th century and they used to provide a line of defence against invasion as well as a point of entry into England. Ford set out to chronicle their history at the time when he was engaging in his collaboration with Joseph Conrad, a defining moment in his development of literary impressionism. In the dedication to The Cinque Ports, he addresses the relation between the historian’s accuracy and the writer’s suggestiveness, a stance that paved the way for his Soul of London (1905), which he intended to be illustrated by Hyde. An expensive book, The Cinque Ports contains 23 illustrations, including 14 photogravure plates. A process combining photography and etching, photogravure had been used to reproduce Hyde’s illustrations to Alice Meynell’s London Impressions (Constable, 1898). For both volumes, he collaborated with the Scottish inventor and entrepreneur Donald Cameron-Swan (1863-1951) of the Swan Electric Engraving Company. Although those illustrations capture the atmospheric smog of an urban setting, they share with the Cinque Ports plates the fluid texture that conveys the watery appearance of clouds, mist and the sea. Like London, “the merest abstraction” (The Soul of London 10), the sea defies definition and delineation. It prevents any stable mapping of the shifting coastline exposed to silting, tides and erosion. Looking at how Hyde’s illustrations combine clearness and fuzziness, stability and changeability, this paper will explore their intermedial status in relation to the natural interaction between the coastline and the sea, as well as the textual interplay between historical chronicle and impressionist record.
Aymes Cinque Ports.pdf (2.38 Mo) Télécharger le fichier
Origin : Files produced by the author(s)

Dates and versions

hal-03461319 , version 1 (02-01-2022)


  • HAL Id : hal-03461319 , version 1


Sophie Aymes-Stokes. "A little deeper into the sea": William Hyde's illustrations to Ford Madox Ford's The Cinque Ports. 12th International IAWIS/AIERTI Conference: Water and Sea in Word and Image, Université du Luxembourg, Jul 2021, Luxembourg, Luxembourg. ⟨hal-03461319⟩


50 View
6 Download


Gmail Facebook Twitter LinkedIn More