mervyn peake, gormenghast author, world war ii artist, wwii


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Mervyn Laurence Peake, official war artistMervyn Laurence Peake (1911 – 1968)

Mervyn is probably best remembered due to his Gormenghast books, occasionally compared to the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, despite his influences being taken from Dickens and Robert Louis Stevenson.
Mervyn Peake was born in Kuling, China to British Parents, and the Chinese influence crept into his later creative pursuits. In 1923, the family returned to England and his education continued at Eltham College, Mottingham, later studying arts at the Croydon School of Arts, and at the Royal Academy Schools where he learnt to paint in oils.
Most of the 1930’s was spent as a painter in London, however for a couple of years, he lived on the Channel Island of Sark, after his former teacher set up an artists’ colony there.

During World War II, Mervyn's application to become a war artist was turned down, and instead he was conscripted into the army where he served both with the Royal Artillery and the Royal Engineers. Following his repeated requests, and subsequent denials, to become a war artist, Peake suffered a nervous breakdown, after which the Ministry of Information took him on as a graphic artist.

In the 1950’s his health began to deteriorate, with the onset of Parkinson’s Disease, for which he received electro-shock treatment.

Mervyn Peake's Paintings

mervyn peake self portrait art
wwi, wwii, war artists
Three Children by a Rocking Horse

mervyn peake, gormenghast UK Buyers

Purchase the DVD of Gormenghast


Gormenghast is an ancient city-state which primarily consists of a rambling and crumbling castle. The narrative, based on the first two of the three Gormenghast novels by Mervyn Peake, begins with the birth of a son, Titus, to the 76th Earl, Sepulchrave Groan, and Countess Gertrude. This mismatched pair (he'd prefer the melancholy privacy of his library; she'd prefer the company of her menagerie of cats and birds) also have a teenaged daughter, Fuchsia, who resents her new brother but comes to love him dearly. Simultaneously, a young kitchen apprentice, Steerpike, takes advantage of an altercation between head cook Swelter and the Earl's manservant, Mr. Flay, and escapes from the kitchens...

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gormenghast novels UK Buyers

Purchase the book of Gormenghast

The Gormenghast Novels
by Mervyn Peake (Author)

Mervyn Peake's gothic masterpiece, the Gormenghast trilogy, begins with the superlative Titus Groan, a darkly humorous, stunningly complex tale of the first two years in the life of the heir to an ancient, rambling castle. The trilogy continues with the novels Gormenghast and Titus Alone, and all three books are bound together in this single-volume edition.

The Gormenghast royal family, the castle's decidedly eccentric staff, and the peasant artisans living around the dreary, crumbling structure make up the cast of characters in these engrossing stories. Peake's command of language and unique style set the tone and shape of an intricate, slow-moving world of ritual and stasis...

mervyn peake US Buyers

[Paul Nash] [Augustus John] [Austin Spare] [Bruce Bairnsfarther] [Alfred Lee] [David Bomberg] [Eric Ravilious] [William Rothenstein] [Leonard Raven-Hill] [Frank Brangwyn] [John Lavery] [Francis Dodd] [Stanley Spencer] [Mervyn Peake] [Muirhead Bone] [Cyril-Bird] [William Roberts] [William Orpen] [Mark Gertler] [Philip Steer] [John Hassall] [Wyndham Lewis]

Gold, war poster, photo, wwi, wwii

Kaiser Spider, war poster, photo, wwi, wwii
Kaiser Spider

Mark 5 Tank, war poster, photo, wwi, wwii
Mark 5 Tank

La Grande Guerre, war poster, photo, wwi, wwii
La Grande Guerre

Australians!, war poster, photo, wwi, wwii

Winston Churchill, war poster, photo, wwi, wwii
Winston Churchill

Serve the Guns, war poster, photo, wwi, wwii
Serve the Guns