Cover Illustration Black Venus Angela Carter
'Black Venus' by Angela Carter

 

Self-initiated project, entry for the V&A Illustration Award 2019 (student category).

The titular short story is of Baudelaire and his mistress, Jeanne Duval, the 'Black Venus', who resided in Paris in the mid-late 19th century. No one knows for sure where Duval was born - perhaps Mauritius, or perhaps the Dominican Republic - but she was most likely  a descendent of French-colonial slaves.

 

A particular passage, in a sarcastically romantic turn of phrase, describes the manner by which Duval made her way across the ocean to France - on a scallop-shell, accompanied by Albatrosses. Her medallion necklace depicts an18th century ship, symbolising her grandmother's journey in the opposite direction, most likely in chains.

Black Venus