Print of the month

Art, Architecture, Photography & Design
October 31, 2022
Danse Macabre etching by William Strang, CIRC.208-1919 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

What better way to celebrate fright night in print than with a danse macabre? This eerie etching is by Scottish painter-printmaker William Strang (1859 – 1921) and shows a group of cloaked skeletons on stilts. It builds on a long tradition of works of art entitled ‘The Dance of Death’, popular since the late Medieval period. The best-known is Hans Holbein’s series of 41 woodcuts, first published in 1538, which show the figure of Death tormenting every corner of society from beggars to empresses, judges to thieves, and bishops to newlyweds. In Strang’s interpretation, there is no specific victim, perhaps casting a more chilling effect as who knows where this ghoulish throng are headed on Halloween night…

For more deathly designs, mesmerising mezzotints, funereal photographs, and petrifying paintings, please visit us in the Prints and Drawings Study Room.

About the author

Art, Architecture, Photography & Design
October 31, 2022

Besides being on the lookout for general curios and oddities across the collections, my work primarily covers 19th and 20th century prints, particularly posters and paper ephemera from the 1890s...

More from Zorian Clayton
0 comments so far, view or add yours

Add a comment

Please read our privacy policy to understand what we do with your data.


Join today and enjoy unlimited free entry to all V&A exhibitions, Members-only previews and more

Find out more


Find inspiration in our incredible range of exclusive gifts, jewellery, books, fashion, prints & posters and much more...

Find out more