Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Lee, Alan

(1947-    ) UK fantasy illustrator, with a delicate, subdued, misty watercolour style, in the manner of the traditional English watercolourists Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) and John Sell Cotman (1782-1842). He also produces sensitively rendered drawings in soft pencil. The imaginative quality of his work owes much to Arthur Rackham and the influence of AL's associate Brian Froud, but there is evidence of a truly original – if at times rather gloomy – mind at work. His imaginative figure drawing is strong, with a charming sense of the grotesque; all his best work has a sense of timeless antiquity.

With Froud AL produced the enormously popular and charming Faeries (graph 1978). The financial success of this venture allowed him to embark on an illustrated version of The Mabinogion (1982). He also painted covers for the 1982 edition of Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy. Castles (graph 1984) written by David Day was an attempt to capitalize on Faeries, but was less commercially successful. Other projects include The Mirrorstone: A Ghost Story with Holograms (graph 1986) by Michael Palin (1943-    ) and the covers for Merlin Dreams (1988) by Peter Dickinson and the 1991 printing of J R R Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Since the last endeavour he has published affiliated work, notably illustrating Tolkien's Ring (1994) by David Day. [RT]

Alan Lee


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.