Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Portfolio, Plates 13-24 (1980)

The Empire Strikes Back Portfolio. Artwork by Ralph McQuarrie.

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Portfolio was released in 1980 and contained paintings by the film’s conceptual artist Ralph McQuarrie. It was a follow-up to the bestselling Star Wars Portfolio from 1977.

The Empire Strikes Back Portfolio, caption sheet
The Empire Strikes Back Portfolio, caption sheet

The Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back Portfolio was published by Ballentine Books and contained 24 full-colour plates measuring 14 x 11 inches. They shipped in a sturdy, fold-out cardboard envelope with a separate sheet with captions for each print as well as a short biography for McQuarrie. The Portfolio sold for $8.95, around $40 (or £25) when adjusted for inflation.

In this second batch of prints we see McQuarrie’s concept work for Dagobah and Cloud City. There’s some great stuff here – I love the wonderfully alien Dagobah (Plates 16 and 17) and we get to see a concept ideas for Cloud City that never made it into the final film (Plate 20).

This portfolio collection was followed by a set featuring McQuarrie’s paintings from the third instalment of the trilogy, The Return of the Jedi, also published by Ballantine Books, in 1983. However, that collection featured paintings the artist made after principal photography was completed, and not concept art as is featured in this collection.

Below are the last 12 plates from The Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back Portfolio  – click on the images for larger versions. The first 12 plates can be found here.

The Empire Strikes Back Portfolio, Plate 13. Artwork by Ralph McQuarrie

Plate 13

The Empire Strikes Back Portfolio, Plate 14 Artwork by Ralph McQuarrie

Plate 14

The Empire Strikes Back Portfolio, Plate 15. Artwork by Ralph McQuarrie

Plate 15

The Empire Strikes Back Portfolio, Plate 16. Artwork by Ralph McQuarrie

Plate 16

The Empire Strikes Back Portfolio, Plate 17. Artwork by Ralph McQuarrie

Plate 17

The Empire Strikes Back Portfolio, Plate 18. Artwork by Ralph McQuarrie

Plate 18

The Empire Strikes Back Portfolio, Plate 19. Artwork by Ralph McQuarrie

Plate 19

The Empire Strikes Back Portfolio, Plate 20. Artwork by Ralph McQuarrie 

Plate 20

The Empire Strikes Back Portfolio, Plate 21. Artwork by Ralph McQuarrie

Plate 21

The Empire Strikes Back Portfolio, Plate 22. Artwork by Ralph McQuarrie

Plate 22

The Empire Strikes Back Portfolio, Plate 23. Artwork by Ralph McQuarrie

Plate 23

The Empire Strikes Back Portfolio, Plate 24. Artwork by Ralph McQuarrie

Plate 24

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