Museum News


Poe Museum launches campaign to save endangered illustrations for “The Raven”


Kickstarter project has goal of $60,000 in 45 days

Richmond, Va. – Today the Edgar Allan Poe Museum launched a campaign to raise $60,000 through Kickstarter to preserve, prepare and publish a book of James Carlings’ original illustrations for “The Raven.” Dating to the 1880s, these original illustrations were named one of “Virginia’s Top 10 Most Endangered Artifacts” by the Virginia Association of Museums. Donations will be received until November 15 through the Kickstarter website (bit.ly/jcarling). If the entire $60,000 is not raised, the Poe Museum will receive no funding from the campaign.

“The Carling illustrations are a true piece of Poe history and have been an important part of the museum since the 1930s,” said Chris Semtner, curator, Edgar Allan Poe Museum. “For 40 years these illustrations were a fixture in the museum’s Raven Room and now due to their deteriorating condition, we are unable to display them.”

If the goal is met, the funds will be used to prepare and publish a book containing all 43 of Carlings’ original illustrations. In addition, a portion of the funds will be used to carefully conserve each illustration and create a traveling exhibit. Semtner explained that the existing paper on which the illustrations were drawn is glued to acidic cardboard causing it to darken and deteriorate.

The artist, James Carling, is the earliest and first “pavement artist” whose life has been fully documented. His illustrations for “The Raven” are his largest body of work and only known set of illustrations. Carling billed himself as the “fastest drawer in the world” and the “lightning caricaturist.”

“The Poe Museum has been given the responsibility to preserve, promote and publish Carlings’ masterpiece,” says Semtner. “We have reached out through Kickstarter to raise the money to publish these pieces in full color, promote them by creating exhibits to travel to museums and to preserve them for the enjoyment of future generations.”

For more information, visit bit.ly/jcarling PoeMuseum.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.



3 Comments »


  1. This looks like a great project. Just wondering what treatment protocols might be used to remove the illustrations from the boards. We are both paper conservators with a practice a few miles from the museum. Looking to hearing more about the project!

    Comment by Mary Studt and Wendy Cowan — October 1, 2013 @ 12:02 pm
  2. Was the goal of $60,000 accomplished?

    Comment by B. Bates — November 18, 2013 @ 4:18 pm
  3. No. We only raised $51,000, so Kickstarter did not give us anything. We haven’t given up. We are trying to get some of our 600 would-be supporters to contribute to the project at http://www.poemuseum.org/shop/ The contributors will still get rewards for different levels of giving. Please spread the word.

    Comment by chris — November 20, 2013 @ 12:40 pm

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