Pan as an Island by T. Sturge Moore.

Wikis > Pan as an Island by T. Sturge Moore.

A wood block engraving reproduced and featured in The Pageant’s second volume in 1897 as part of Charles Ricketts’ essay A Note on Original Wood Engraving. The piece depicts Pan, a classical mythological figure and satyr, playing his pipes amidst stormy seas. Very harsh lighting is used to make the scene, giving it a foreboding mood. The composition is also very complicated and dynamic, with a wide range of textures and movements giving the piece a lively, chaotic feel. The combination of the violent natural setting and Pan’s pipes being featured perhaps alludes to Romantic ideas of art as an almost aeolian phenomenon, guided by the mysterious and unpredictable will of nature. The symbolism employed by Moore also perhaps suggests a turbulent Victorian view of sexuality. This would be in line with the Pre-Raphaelite aesthetic of the volume, mirroring similar depictions of sexuality as a horse that people are carried away on in works like Spenser’s The Fairy Queen. I also find it interesting how this wood engraving is starting to show more graphic traits that make it seem to be moving in the direction of abstraction and expressive line much more than focusing on accurate representation.