Dalziel after Arthur Hughes, unidentified illustration made for publisher Smith & Co. Dalziel Archive Vol. XXVII (1870), British Museum reg. no. 1913,0415.188

This wood engraving is one of six beautiful ‘lost’ illustrations in the Dalziel Archive. They feature two children as the protagonists, and include an uncanny monk, a pack of wolves, and haunting images of darkness and exploration. We have not yet discovered what book or magazine story they illustrate. The research team would love to hear from you if you can identify them. They were engraved by the Dalziel Brothers after drawings by the Pre-Raphaelite artist Arthur Hughes, in 1870. Because the images have lost their story, we invited students at schools including the Brighton Aldridge Community Academy (BACA) to fill this gap in the archive. They created new narratives for the illustrations. During the workshop, we discussed the gothic genre and examined a passage from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein alongside nineteenth-century illustrations. Students then decided on a sequence for Hughes and Dalziel’s wood engravings, and wrote their own gothic story to accompany them. We will be publishing more examples in the coming weeks, so watch this space. You can read more about the workshop, and about the students’ collage work, here.

The Lost Story

by Katie Gandey and Regan Leggett

It was a clear dark night, there was an ordinary girl with her ordinary twin brother. They were as good as can be, nice, friendly and polite.

All of a sudden they had an urge to be rebellious. They had never done anything like this before. There was this creepy old man they knew had berries that were super juicy.

Her name strange as an alpaca, CC, her brother’s name GG. She was looking for GG because it was the time they planned to meet. As CC wandered throughout the rest of the enchanted forest she heard the faint tapping of water hitting the jagged rocks. She turned to her left to see the tall yet somehow strange build of her twin GG. He had short black hair and blue eyes with hints of grey in them. His face held a mischievous expression and a small yet dangerous smile. They turned and walked along the gravel path leading to the man’s castle, ready to steal some red berries. They reached the strange man’s place and reached out for the berries.

Out of nowhere the creepy old man showed up, his beard as white as snow, his eyes as yellow as the sun and a cloak as black as night. He was invisible because of his cloak.

CC and GG kept looking for the red berries.

They looked at the creepy old entrance and saw the golden bush. Glowing in delight they rushed over both at once, before something as skinny as a twig tapped them on the shoulder. They turned round to see the man angry as a wolf.

They sprinted away, snapping twigs as they ran faster and faster towards the end of the path. ‘Wait!’ the boy cried out in front of his sister, but she couldn’t hear him. She ran into his back and he fell, his ankle twisting as he desperately grabbed at vines. He managed to get a hold but it wasn’t for long. CC felt the ground below her begin to crumble. The vine snapped and ground fell. They fell for what seemed like an eternity.

When they hit the ground a loud shriek of bones snapping filled the air. They lay lifeless.

The creepy old man slowly limped over to the twins’ dead bodies. The man with a shovel in his right hand started digging deep holes around the corpses, pushing them in, not showing a shred of humanity. The man slowly smiles, pleased with himself. He gets the dirt and shovels it back into the holes with the stench of rotting flesh. The smell faded slowly but not disappearing.

The dogs smelt it. Meat. The dead corpses reeking of escaping blood. They howled at the shining glimmer of the moon. Then they fled towards their next meal. The man was standing over the bodies. He brushed the dirt off his hands and began to walk away. The sudden approach of pounding footsteps in ­the night stopped him. He span around just in time to see them. Then he screamed.