The Museum Collection

"The Raven" Illustrated by James Carling

ID #:
Creator: James William Carling
Date: ca.1882
Format: Ink on Board
Source: Museum Purchase
Collection: Poe Foundation, Inc.
Place of Publication:
Publish Date:


James William Carling (1857-1887) was born in Liverpool and traveled to the United States at the age of fourteen. Hailing himself as the "Lightning Caricaturist" and the "Fastest Drawer in the World," Carling toured the country with his brother, Henry, a successful portraitist. About 1882, James Carling began a series of 43 wash drawings illustrating "The Raven." Comparing his own illustrations to those the famous Gustave Dore had done for the same poem, Carling said his own were more in keeping with the spirit of Poe in that they were "stormer, wilder, and more weird" than Dore's.

Carling returned to Liverpool in 1887, where he died that year at the age of 29. His brother continued to exhibit the "Raven" illustrations in conjunction with displays of his own portrature. James Carling's niece sold the 43 illustrations to the Poe Museum.