Virgil Finlay's Creative Re-use of his Own Drawings

Every now and again, Virgil Finlay would re-use parts of his earlier drawings, or use the same photographs of people for new drawings. Here some examples are listed.

'Venus' Central linear figure of transitory plane

Central linear figure of transitory plane

'Venus' right of center
Part of the composition of

'Venus' left of center
Part of the composition of
'Duar the Accursed'

The sketch of 'Venus' on the left was made in 1935 and is page 7 of the sketchbook 'A Midsummer Night's Dream by Wm. Shakespeare: Studies for the Illustrations by Virgil Finlay'. It is one of the few drawings in the sketchbook that is signed by Virgil Finlay, i.e. "Virgil '35". The drawing was used (redrawn) to form part of the composition that was used as frontispiece of the book 'A Midsummer Night' Dream' published in 1935, displayed in the middle. This frontispiece is also published as part of 'Finlay's Lost Drawings' in 1975. Earlier, in 1937, the Venus drawing was part of an illustration of the story 'Duar the Accursed' by Clifford M. Ball in Weird Tales, May 1937, depicted on the right.


Full illustration and detail
'The Black Drama' by Virgil Finlay
Weird Tales
July 1938
Detail and full illustration
'The Magic Mirror' by Virgil Finlay
Weird Tales
September 1938

The posture and details of the skeletons are similar.

Man with hands in its pockets

'Double Meaning'
by Virgil Finlay
Startling Stories
January 1953

'Advance Agent'
by Virgil Finlay
Galaxy 2, 1957

The posture and details of the man are the same.

Sphinx like Woman

'The Time Machine'
by Virgil Finlay
Famous Fantastic Mysteries

'Silent Night'
by Virgil Finlay
April 1955

The postures of the women are the same.

Woman with backgrounds

Full illustration and detail
Astrology illustration
by Virgil Finlay
Full illustration and detail
Astrology illustration
by Virgil Finlay
Full illustration and detail
City of the Dead
by Virgil Finlay

The posture and details of the woman are the same, including face, hair, wrinkles in dress, and the dress.

Virgil Finlay's 'Monsters'

Full page and detail
'Citadel of Fear'
Famous Fantastic Mysteries
February 1942
Detail and full illustration
'The Smoking Land'
A. Merritt's Fantasy Magazine
February 1950
Detail and full illustration
'Bernie Goes To Hell'
Famous Fantastic Mysteries
June 1953

The monster in the Virgil Finlay drawing is modelled after a Norman Lindsay illustration.

Eagle in 'The Hobbit' and an 'Silence is Deadly'

'The Hobbit'

'Silence is Deadly'

Virgil Finlay's illustration for J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Hobbit' was never used. 'Silence is Deadly' illustrated the story by Lloyd Biggle, Jr. in If, October 1957.

Posture of woman in drawings

The Face In the Abyss
by A. Merritt
Famous Fantastic Mysteries
October 1940

by Henry Kuttner
Thrilling Wonder Stories
August 1947

Full Moon
by Talbot Mundy
Famous Fantastic Mysteries Combined
with Fantastic Novels Magazine
February 1953

Clearly, the posture of the woman in the drawings is very similar.

Posture of woman in drawings (bis)

Plate 4 of Finlay's Femmes

The Time Tombs

Crash Program

Clearly, the posture of the woman in the drawings is very similar.

Big cats

Death's Secret
by John L. Schoolcraft
Fantastic Novels Magazine
July 1950

The Vengeance of Kyvor
by Randall Garrett
April 1957

Clearly, the posture of the cat in the drawings are very similar.

Man on Bed in 'The Complete Magnus Ridolph' and in 'The Undetected'

Title page in
The Complete Magnus Ridolph
December 1984

'The Undetected'
December 1959

The drawing in 'The Complete Magnus Ridolph' is the right-part of a two page spread (first publication date of that drawing not identified). The drawing 'The Undetected' illustrated the story by George O. Smith in Galaxy, December 1959.

Man in Discomfort

'Minimum Man'
Famous Fantastic Mysteries
August 1947

'Realities Unlimited'
Startling Stories
July 1948

'The Last Vial'
Amazing Stories
November 1960

'His Touch Turned
Stone to Flesh'
Dream World
August 1957

'All Good Men'
Fantastic Science Fiction
June 1956

'The Wrong World'
December 1960

Inspection of the full drawings shows similarities with respect to the position of the man that are beyond coincidence. When 'The Wrong World' is viewed upside down, the similarity is clear.

Man in Discomfort (bis)

'The Human Zero'
Fantastic Stories of Imagination
January 1962

'The American Weekly'

Lion (Leo)

'Morning Star'
Famous Fantastic Mysteries
February 1950

Astrological illustration

'Her Ways are Death' and an 'Astrological illustration'

Her Ways are Death

Astrological illustration

Clearly, the woman in both drawings are very similar. The drawing for the story 'Her Ways are Death' and appeared in Famous Fantastic Mysteries magazine, June 1952.


Full page and detail
Sunbeam Caress
If, March 1968
Detail and full page
Witch of the Four Winds
Fantastic Stories of Imagination November/December 1963
Detail and full (upside down) page
The Shadow of Wings
Robert Silverberg
If, July 1963

The bats are identical in the drawings.

Kissing persons

Full illustration and detail
'Vulcan's Dolls' by Virgil Finlay
Startling Stories, February 1952
Detail and full illustration
by Virgil Finlay
for Astrology Your Daily Horoscope

The kissing persons the same in both illustrations.

Even little details such as the left hand of the man under the left shoulder of the woman are identical. It is even more clear if the Vulcan's Dolls illustrations is rotated counter-clockwise.