Errol Le Cain Showcase.

I have been an admirer of the work of Errol Le Cain for many years now and have been delighted to find this website by Michael Sporin, who has posted many images from Le Cain's books and has very kindly agreed to let me share them with you.

I particularly like the very decorative style of illustration used in the above illustrations taken from "The Thorn Rose", "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" and "the Snow Queen". He was undoubtedly a master of his craft, and a superb artist who's work may well be forgotten as many of his books are now out of print. Fortunately his work is being kept alive by book lovers and collectors and there is now a website dedicated to his work, run by Tania Covo.

His work shows the influence of some of the places he has lived, much of his formative years being spent in India and the Far East. You can read more about his life and work as an illustrator and set designer in the websites mentioned. Sadly, his life was cut short after a long illness, he died whilst still in his forties and no doubt in his creative prime, in 1989.


  1. You can certainly see the India from his early life in the second photo.All the rich deep hues found within an antique pashima(paisley) shawl.
    Now that you have brought his wonderful talent to my attention I shall be sure to find some of his work to admire.

  2. Thanks for reminding us of these beautiful illustrations. I love the references to Breughels 'Hunters in the Snow' in the bottom picture.

    Something to look for when I'm browsing the second hand book shops.


  3. Yes, you can definitely see the geographical influence on his work. So beautiful. Thank you for the introduction to this wonderful artist. I'm off to find more on your links....

  4. My goodness, these are just wonderful! Sort of a mixture of Gennady Spirin and Edward Gorey. I especially love his illustrations of houses. Thanks so much for introducing us!

  5. I really like the detail and colours in these beautiful illustrations and look forward to looking at more of his work which I am not familiar with. Thank you for introducing me to this talented artist.


  6. Such beautiful illustrations, I like the muted yet rich colours, very inspiring for embroidery, these have made me want to explore his work more . thankyou for sharing.
    Hugs Lynn xx

  7. Such beautiful paintings.
    I love the patterns in the trees, infact so many patterns hidden and then you look closer and they appear,linking together.

  8. It is so interesting to me to read about the references you see in this work. I can now see the paisley shawl and the Hunters in Snow. I can also see the influence in Japanese woodcuts, especially in the stark tree outlines.

    Pamela, I love Gennady Spirin, I only recently discovered his work when I bought his "Nutcracker'.

  9. I really like the cover of the dancing girls, but then the snow scene really drew me in.

    On my trip to Taos I met a children's book illustrator who was so kind named Amy Cordova. I hope to blog about her but am waiting for her permission to post some of her work along with my post.

    So sorry I failed to follow up on the post you've been awaiting on perceived value of art. Silly me, I have lost the particular thought. Maybe I will get it back.

  10. Hello Valerie... thanks for posting these... I love his work too, but don't know much about him.
    Thanks too for the info on Peter Malone - really interesting.. and great work.
    I'd like to join the Gennadij Spirin fan club too... his work is just brilliant beyond brilliant!
    I sometimes feel like have so much to learn it's overwhelming!
    Hope you are well :)
    x Rima

  11. I have 'Thorn Rose'. The pictures were what attracted me when I bought it but I've never managed to attach them properly (emotionally, I suppose I mean) to the story.

    I think I'll hunt it out and look at the pictures for themselves.

    The Twelve Dancing Princesses - that is a strange story. Confessing even more ignorance, although it draws me and has an extraordinarily powerful and mesmeric atmosphere about it - I've never understood what on earth it is really about.


  12. These illustrations are wonderful - I like the Dancing Princeses. The bottom picture of the snow scene remindeds me, for some reason, of Hunters in the Snow by Pieter Bruegal. How sad that the artist died so young.

  13. I particularly love the bottom picture - it has such a timeless quality to it.

  14. How very beautiful..and now i am going to google Gennady Spirin!
    Thank you...

  15. He is a favourite of mine too!

    I love all of his work, but have a special soft spot for the Snow Queen as that is my all time favorite fairytale. :)
    I believe he also did animation and video. I would like to get hold of them.
    The carpeted effect of his plants and flowers, reminds me of your lovely fabric designs.

    I too love Gennady Spirin especially the Nutcracker. Didn't he illustrate one of Madonna's Childrens books recently. What it is to be a celebrity, write a book and choose an illustrator like that ! :)

  16. Thank you ! I'm always looking for beautifully illustrated children's books. I will check some of his out from the library.

  17. Fabulous creations, and all quite new to me. Also the website. Sincere thanks for both!

  18. I succeeded in finding a few of Errol Le Cain's books at the library. Thanks so much for bringing him to my attention.

  19. Oh yes, I have his Pied Piper of Hamelin, which is simply gorgeous. I didn't know he died so young though, what a tragedy.

  20. I knew Errol in the Nineteen Sixties when he was working at Richard Williams animation studio. He became friends with our family. A sweet and very shy man and a great talent. I am writing some stuff about that time in British Animation and would love to hear from anyone who knew Errol. My e-mail is anthony@evelynwilliams.com

  21. Beautiful work. I want to find some more work of his now. :)