“So far as I could see, the world displayed harmony and beauty. Out across the broad river valley I saw the Thames, shifted, perhaps, a mile from its present course—the water shone like silver and the land faded into the serenity of the sky.”
The year 802,701 A.D. This picture was originally painted by artist Bill Nims back in February 2011 as artwork for the musical version of ‘The Time Machine’ with the intention of using it for the inside of the gatefold album sleeve. However, as the project moved on the artwork took a ‘darker’ direction. I still find this picture especially enchanting though as it represents the Time Traveller’s first glimpse of the future, of what, at first glance appears to be a Utopian paradise. It has a certain kind of fairytale-like quality about it, which, in a way is what The Time Machine is, and is reminiscent of a couple of my most loved early album covers by ‘Genesis’, ‘Nursury Cryme’ or ‘Wind & Wurthering’.
Bill’s drawing owes a considerable amount of inspiration pictures made by Marianne North, a British Victorian biologist and botanical artist, notable for her landscape and plant paintings from her extensive foreign travels. Examples of her work can be seen at the Marianne North gallery, which is situated in the grounds of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond (the Time Traveller’s house was set in Richmond in Wells’s novel), London where the walls are covered with hundreds of her paintings—it’s well worth a visit if you happen to be in London.