Dan Hillier crafts surreal Victorian collages for Shakespeare's Globe theatre

Dark Victorian, surrealist portraits by Dan Hillier are returning to define another season at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre following a successful summer.


The fantastical human/nature hybrids by East Londoner Dan Hillier have been chosen to define the winter season of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre following a successful summer. 

Artistic director at the Globe Emma Rice says Dan's portraits took her breath away due to their arresting and subversive nature - so much so that she's using them again.

"I saw in them, the past and the future and started to fizz with ideas, passions and feelings. 

"He is an inspired, radical and sensuous artist that makes history vibrate to a modern tune."

Dan's art was the perfect fit for the 'Wonder' identity of the Globe's summer season.

The striking portraits were elongated up white pillars and displayed on walls in the theatre foyer, as well as featured on programmes, tickets, posters and in digital form on the website. Typography was also created by splicing together Dan's portraits.

You can see his portraits throughout the Globe's winter season from October 26 to February 2017.

Image: Puppeteer (2011) was used for the Globe's summer 'Wonder' season.

His work is the product of carefully assembled layers of Victorian black line engravings, encyclopaedias and botanical and anatomical prints, creating a surreal aesthetic with a dark underbelly.

He says his work is mostly made from scanning bits of 1800s etchings, woodcuts and drawings and collaging them together with his own dip-nip pen ink drawings.

He uses Photoshop to assemble the work, as well as a Wacom smartpad to make adjustments. These images are then screen-printed.

See how illustrator Kristjana S Williams used antique engravings to create children's book The Wonder Garden. 

Image: Cecelia Huntress (2011) will be used for the Globe's winter season.


His eclectic composition traces back to an intriguing childhood fascination with surrealist collages from the wordless novel, Une Semaine de Bonte, by Max Ernst (1933), and artists such as Louise Bourgeois and Heironymous Bosch.

Influences range from religious iconography, to underground comic art to ancient art of Egypt and Assyria.

Image: Cellar Door (2015) will be used for the Globe's winter season.

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The unsettling effect of his self-described “good-time romp through light and dark, nature and wonder” has proved successful in the past.

He’s exhibited at big-name venues such as the Saatchi Gallery and Les Musee des Arts Decoritifs at the Lourve in collaboration with Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton. 

He won Best Art Vinyl award for his work on Royal Blood’s debut album Pachamama (as seen in this image). 

See the winners of the Best Art Vinyl awards

Check out some more of his work to be included in the winter season on the next slides. 

Image: Pachamama (2014) depicts the South American Goddess of the Earth holding the starry solar system in her hair and clutching the rivers, forests and mountains to her chest.


Image: Forest (2010) 


Image: Centre (2011)

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