I also like the variety of expressions Ford’s dragons display. They all seem to have a bit of personality. You can believe that these dragons are sentient beings, rather than mere brute monsters. They’re always interacting with other characters, their eyes watching the people around them, their expressions ranging from malevolence, to concern, to amusement. It isn’t easy to give a dragon an expression of character without making it cartoony (I know because I’ve tried!) and Ford does exceptionally well. Perhaps he met a few dragons in his day, to sketch from life or to gain a particular affinity for the beasts!
[Pictures: The Dragon Carries off the Three Soldiers, illustration by H.J. Ford from “The Dragon and His Grandmother”;
The Youth Secures the Dragon, illustration by H.J. Ford from “The Dragon of the North”;
The Seven-Headed Serpent, illustration by H.J. Ford from “The Seven-Headed Serpent”;
The Dragons Dancing, illustration by H.J. Ford from “The Flower Queen’s Daughter,” all from The Yellow Fairy Book edited by Andrew Lang, 1894 (All images scanned by George P. Landow at The Victorian Web.)]