Original War of the Worlds Illustrations Up for Auction


When Henrique Alvim Corrêa read H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds in 1903, he couldn’t help but pick up a pencil. At the time, the Brazil-born artist was living in Boitsfort, Belgium with his wife and child, trying to make a name for himself. Inspired by Wells’ words, he drew creepy, surreal images of the invading aliens from the story—then took the artwork to London to show it to the author himself.

According to The History Blog, though Wells had no idea who the 29-year-old artist was, he “was so impressed ... that he invited Alvim Corrêa to illustrate the upcoming special edition of The War of Worlds by Belgian publisher L. Vandamme.” Now, more than 100 years later, the original drawings Alvim Corrêa created for the book are up for auction.

The special edition was published in 1906. Just 500 copies were made, each one numbered and signed by the artist. Wells would later say that “Alvim Corrêa did more for my work with his brush than I with my pen.”

Alvim Corrêa was just 34 when he died in 1910, and was still mostly unknown. The illustrations remained in his family until 1990, when they were sold as a set to a private collector; this auction will sell off the pen and pencil on paperboard illustrations individually, each with Alvim Corrêa’s stamp on the reverse side. The auction, which ends May 14, could garner $500,000 total.

You can read more about Alvim Corrêa’s brief but incredible life over at The History Blog.

All images courtesy of Heritage Auctions