Tuesday 4 August 2015

Oldhammer Weekend 2015: Anthony Ackland's Sketchbook

Returning to my Oldhammer coverage once again, it is the turn of Anthony Ackland. Attendees were blessed with his presence thanks to the Ansell family, who arranged for the artist to be collected from St.Ives in Cornwall and brought to Stoke Hall. He brought with him a large collection of his original art and was available for a chat over all three days. 

I must say, it was a delight to meet Tony at last. Having interviewed him a few years back (twice), I knew that he was a man who's passion for arcane art had not diminished with his retirement. Sitting on a comfortable chair in the corner of the marquee he must have spent hours talking to many different people about history, art, Games Workshop company history and a few naughty stories! With his long white beard and sparkling eyes he looked ever much the Grandmaster of Chaos, and the man who shaped the look and feel of the original Warhammer world like no other. 

If I had taken photographs of everything in his portfolio this blog post would go on for ever. I took a selection of shots over the two days I was there and I share those now. Where I can, I will put the pictures into context but I must admit that there are several that I have never seen before. In that case, dear reader, please comment below if you know more than I (which isn't hard, really) so the gaps are filled. 

1: This illustration was new to me and I was surprised to find it came from the WFRP Drachenfels supplement put out by Flame Publications in about 1990, making it one of the last pieces Tony did for Games Workshop. If you have read the book (I must admit it was a while ago for me) you will probably recognise the scene. 
2: Realm of Chaos era Rogue Trader madness. I think this one if from Slaves to Darkness, but it could have easily crept into Lost and the Damned too! Its a shame that the 40k figures went in a different direction because these look brutal. 
3: Iconic images for Slaves to Darkness. Ian Miller and Tony Ackland were a terrific combination!
4: Now THIS was a pleasure to see. The original Malal greater daemon illustration (and Tony had all the others from the Malal research I did a while back) inside his portfolio. It makes you wonder what could have been, eh?
5: Greater Daemon of Slaanesh Keeper of Secrets. From Slaves to Darkness and loads of other places. 
6: Several pages of the chaos attribute illustrations from Slaves to Darkness.
7: A battle scene from the Realm of Chaos era.
8: The Rod of Command - second version - apparently the original was a great deal more suggestive than this one. Personally, I had never noticed the, ahem, 'ladies' and what they could be up to before. The smaller image is from atrophy from the chaos attributes section. 
9: This one is a mystery - anyone recognise it and where it was published?
10: Horus Heresy battle scene. 
11: It was a joy to see this drawing. An iconic picture which perfectly sums up the endless adventure roleplaying games offer us. 
12: Nurgle Beastmen from the Lost and the Damned
13: A chaos hound. I don't recall seeing this picture before, though I do own the model on which it is based. Though there is the possibility that the model was based on this image. I am not sure where the smaller image comes from either.
14: AD&D Ferrobeast?
15: These drawings made me smile when I stumbled across them in Tony's portfolio. They appeared in several places but I more recently familiar to me as the chapter heading illustrations in the first edition of Zaragoz. Those of you following the 'Oldhammer Bookclub' may recognise them too!
16: Two Christmas card illustrations Tony used in the 1980s. I don't think either of these have been seen online before. 
17: I have absolutely no idea about this one - sorry!
18: An illustration from the original Confrontation RPG.
19: Again, I am not sure about this one. Possibly Confrontation.
20: Underhive gangs.
21: The Kinky Chaosette
22: Chaos renegade. A World Eater judging by the shoulder pad.
22: Undead things, possibly from the Doomstones campaign. Anyone recognise these?


  1. Yes the last two are from Doomstones, possibly the unknown beast an is too, I need to check my books.

  2. It was great leafing through the art which he'd brought, very inspiring and gave me that chaos itch again (I you pardon the phrase).

  3. such beautiful artwork, it must have been a real pleasure leafing through those portfolios.

  4. Very neat to see these. Art like this really does bring the insanity of these the settings to life!

  5. Anthony is such a genius , a gentleman , and I agree he still have the love and passion for fantasy and scifi.
    I hope he was a bit better from his bones pain he's suffering lately. :(

  6. Fantastic stuff. It's a tough call whether I prefer Tony's Chaosette or John Blanche's, and that's my favourite fantasy painting ever! think the ones you didn't have a clue about were both intended for Confrontation. Tony had a whole Confrontation sketchbook with him and said that all the illustration work was done for it before they decided not to release.

  7. Thanks for the photo essay! Ferro-beast is Rogue Trader - check out Cheetor's blog post on him here https://sho3box.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/ferro-beasts/

  8. Although he doesn't look very science-fictiony, the chap reclining on the sofa may also be from Confrontation; the cherub things were a status symbol for powerful gang leaders in that game.

  9. Absolutely brilliant - I loved Tony's art in Slaves to Darkness when I got it for Xmas in 1989 and I love it today. His WFRP work is lovely - different topic but very evocative as you have noted above.

  10. Just started reading Drachenfels so I was happy to recognise the corridor of living Gargoyles in the first pic before I read your caption!

    Truly brilliant artistry and a joy to see - what a treat to have Sir Ackland visit us!

  11. Thanks for posting these...and hat's off to Mr Ackland for making it up from the far end of Cornwall.

  12. Thanks for posting these...and hat's off to Mr Ackland for making it up from the far end of Cornwall.

  13. Thanks for posting these - a twisted treat. He is undoubtedly the Grandmaster of Chaos!

  14. Nr. 9 is from Advanced Heroquest - Terror in the Dark, page 15, and illustrates the Beatmen Matrices.

  15. Thanks for #9. It was bugging me, and I love AHQ so that's why it's so familiar!

    1. AHQ is my favorite beloved dungeon crawler. I'm just doing a list of all miniatures shown in AHQ related publications, to sort my collection. Here's the link (Ye Olde Inn): http://forum.yeoldeinn.com/viewtopic.php?f=41&t=3033 (photos will be gradually given later).

    2. That is an immense collection! The Oldhammer community really inspires. Keep up the good work everybody from this usually silent observer!

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  17. #22 is (are?) from the Doomstones adventure Fire in the Mountains, which features undead Orcs in an abandoned Dwarven complex. #9 appears there too.

  18. I seem to remember the 'Ferrobeast' as an early Beast of Nurgle rendition.