Creative Arts Book of the Week 13/02/15

Charles A.A. Dellschau, 1830-1923Charles A. A. Dellschau  1830-1923

I was very keen to review this new book on Charles Dellschau (1830-1923). He was an American artist and a former butcher.  When he retired at the age of 68 he spent the next 20 years painting watercolours of futuristic images:  incredibly detailed airships that did not exist at the turn of the 20th century.  Quite a contrast to his former work.  His images are quirky and colourful; many of his paintings are actually painted on dated sheets of newspaper.   His work is informative, entertaining and beautifully produced; unlike anything I have seen before.  The reproductions in this book are outstandingly good.

It was only by chance that his work was eventually seen by people after his death.  Unseen for decades and salvaged by a junk dealer in the 1960s from outside a house in Texas, his work was completely unknown to the outside world.  He had produced over 12 large hand-bound books consisting of over 2,500 drawings related to airships and the development of flight.  During his lifetime, Charles Dellschau had only been known as the grouchy local butcher.

This is the first extensive, fully illustrated book on the work of Dellschau. The hand-drawn ‘Aeros’ were interspersed with collaged pages called ‘Press Blooms’, featuring thousands of newspaper clippings related to political events and technological advances of the period.  The essays and ‘Press Blooms’ have put him and his work into real historical context and given his work more meaning. There are also enlarged diary entries with drawings and a miscellany of other styles upon which to feast your eyes.

If you want to find out the fascinating background of how his work was re-discovered  see this website which also includes some of his art work.

Two examples of his ‘Press Blooms’.

Images from

This first one reminds me of a medieval manuscript.







Find Charles A.A. Dellschau in the Large Books Collection on the top floor in Zone 2B.  The book is very heavy so you may want to just use it in the library. It is a great resource for Art and Design students and reminds me of the books produced by Nigel Peake which I reviewed some months ago.

For more images see this Google Images page.  If you use any images in your work don’t forget to cite and reference them correctly.  See  for guidance.


Leave a Comment (note: all comments are moderated)

Your email address will not be published.

(you can use <b>bold</b> or <i>italic</i> markers)


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.