Sidney Sime was born into poverty in 1867 and died in 1941, but he became one of the most beloved fantasy illustrators of the early 20th century. His illustrations were mostly for fantasy pioneer Lord Dunsany’s books, including Time and the Gods, A Dreamer’s Tale, and The Book of Wonder. You can read many of Lord Dunsany’s books free on Project Gutenberg, but if you read them that way, you’ll miss some of their most charming features: the illustrations. Almost none of the print re-issues of Dunsany’s books have the Sime illustrations, either. One of the few reprints that does is the “Lovecraftian Librarium” edition (for the Kindle e-reader) of The Gods of Pergana. Dunsany is widely credited as the precursor to and inspiration for master of fantasy and horror H. P. Lovecraft, and this edition also includes some tales by Lovecraft that were specifically inspired by Dunsany.
Here are two of Sime’s most evocative fantasy illustrations: