Deviation Actions

zombiequadrille's avatar

Dweller in the Nameless City - Lovecraft

8 Favourites
I always had trouble molding my old 'Nameless City' figure so I decided to sculpt a new one. I believe the story was inspired by Merritt's 'The People in the Pit', which also influenced 'At the Mountains of Madness', 'The Mound', and 'The Shadow Out of Time'. My dweller is 5 1/2 inches tall, cast in resin, and painted to resemble aged bronze.  I tried to incorporate as much of HPL's wild description into the figure as I could and there's quite a range of possibilities there. I make copies of these for $35.00 and postage. Anyone interested can contact me at
Image details
Image size
4437x3680px 3.55 MB
© 2019 - 2021 zombiequadrille
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In
nightserpent's avatar
Nice work, Joe, I particularly like the finish.  The verdigris looks great, and the metallic finish really shines.  At this moment I am sketching a commissioned illustration of this exact story, it's the first time I have depicted anything from it.  Yet again, a challenging description to aim for.... bulldog, cat, human with an alligator mouth?  Lots of contradictions, but then again it's lot of opportunities for interpretations.
zombiequadrille's avatar
Thanks, Paul.  Yeah, these creatures are crazy. I think he mentions 'no nose', 'seal', and 'brow', and 'horns' along with the rest. They definitely went on all fours, but at the same time wore robes and jewelry.  Jeez...  I did an earlier version with horns that wouldn't mold properly so I changed that part.  I'll be keen to see your version of the critter.  Hey, it was your Cthulhu sculpt that inspired the finish.  I'd usually done a dark bronze or copper with highlights, or a metallic with verdigris , but for this and some others now I do a dark base with verdigris and then add the gold. 
nightserpent's avatar
Ah yes, 'no nose' :lol:  Does this mean no nostrils or no nose at all (like Voldemort)?  I can get either to work, but once you bring in the jaw component I get confused about how to integrate that.  All the other comparisons (human, bulldog and to some extent the cat) have short faces, so does the jaw comically jut out?  The shape of a Crocodile heads seem to be mostly nose, though I guess it could just not have nostrils.  I am trying to conceive an angle or view which negates the need to address these issues.  His descriptions work well when it is just for the mind's eye.

Oh, you'd asked about Necronomicon- I'm still up in the air, but I'll let you know my plan.
zombiequadrille's avatar
Ha! The description definitely contradicts itself, or seems to.  Good luck trying to figure it out in a way that no one will complain ;-) .  I'm not looking back at HPL's Cthulhu description, but it's fairly vague, too.  He did do the drawings which seem to show six eyes, but never mentions six eyes. He also mentions Cthulhu looking partly like a dragon, but that's not evident in the pics he drew.  He doesn't mention Cthulhu having a mouth, but I wonder if he thought he did. (under the 'mass of feelers').  Once again, I'm not looking back but 'feelers'?  Feelers really aren't tentacles in my mind. I think they'd be more like what catfish have. 
nightserpent's avatar
When I first started illustrating Lovecraft's world I was fairly ignorant of his universe as a whole, it was before I had access to the internet and I had only a few of the books on hand.  Once I started getting the hang of things I began trying to get things exactly as stated.  After years of being asked to paint the same things again and again I started loosening up once again, I needed variety and a way to keep things from going stale for me and the viewers. 

I once heard W.H. Pugmire talking about Lovecraft's stories as dream recollections rather than straight forward accounts of a character's experience.  In this light, his stories make a lot more sense, especially since so much of his writing was inspired by his dreams.  Do you ever have dreams which don't have much logic, but in their own context they are acceptable?  You might be talking to someone in a dream, but somehow they also become a second person at the same time?  Maybe locations become combined, maybe you have a strange sense of knowing something without any tangible evidence?  I think this is how one might successfully interpret a description in a Lovecraft story, I can see how a nameless city dweller would work well in a dream because everything is continually evolving.  As one feature comes into light, others fade away. In that light I might just pick and choose some aspects and not address others for the sake of a good image.  So, for Cthulhu I might decide that this time around I am going to focus
on an aspect or two this time around, and next time try to highlight other aspects. 

I think the dragon descriptor makes sense for someone experiencing the horror of witnessing Cthulhu, but I think it was used more as a generic scaly monster catch-all rather than meaning it resembled a traditional dragon.  When I think about the descriptions of entities and monsters, especially the more horrific ones, I try and put myself in the shoes of the viewer.  In the case of viewing Cthulhu emerging from the sea, how well would anyone be able to contain their sanity and walk away with a lucid and accurate description?  I'm sure if ten people were there there would be ten different descriptions!  Even when witnessing something far less bizarre, like when an uncommon bird lands in the yard, it can be hard to pack in all the details before it has flown away.  I'd be lucky if I could nail down 2-3 features so I could look it up in a book later on.  When I have encountered something a little more threatening, like a bear, I found myself with even less time to absorb detaisl as I was more focused on my own safety.  Now, imagine never having seen a bear before, I think it would be even harder to retain clear details.  Quite possibly my fear would turn the description into something even less accurate.   Considering the extreme amount of psychic wounds one might endure from a Cthulhu encounter, I am surprised he could recount anything.  Some have also interpreted Cthulhu's appearance to be ever changing, so with that in mind there is no real true appearance.  As artists, we could find this very liberating.

If I do an image search or dictionary lookup for 'feelers' it suggests tentacles or antennae, so I think there's lots of good room for interpretation.  I don't think the story mentions suction cups either, but it is a nice aesthetic detail and it does add some interest.  I doubt it was meant for Cthulhu to have a literal octopus for a head, though it's perhaps the most common depiction.  I think it makes Cthulhu look less otherworldly for any of it to be a copy of an earthly form.

As for the idol... no doubt it was constructed from visions in a dream, don't you imagine?  I see it more as an artist's interpretation, and idols are often very simplified versions of what it represents.  Six eyes is a neat idea, but like you say it is not in the story so I think that gives us some lee-way in deciding if/when we want to use that feature.  I am grateful we have Lovecraft's drawing, but let's all admit that drawing isn't his forte, if it was I think he would have been illustrating his own stories.   If he could truly draw what was in his mind's eye I bet we'd be looking at something different.

I'd been thinking about writing about this stuff in the art book project, perhaps this will be an early draft. :lol:
scorpionlover42's avatar
The detail you executed here is really impressive. Clap Your Cthulhu sculpts are great, but I've always liked how you give Dagon and other entities in the Lovecraft lore their moment, too. :) (Smile) 
rachaelm5's avatar
"The Nameless City" is one of my favorites.  Though your interpretation of the beings who lived there is different from what I pictured, I like what you developed!  
zombiequadrille's avatar
It's a fun story.  As I mentioned to 'Nightwerpent' above, there's a lot of room for interpretation of this character, and I wonder if any two people see them exactly the same. It's sort of the same for Cthulhu, but with him we have HPL's drawings and at least a little more definition in the description. 
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In