Saturday, April 30, 2011

Whence These Legends and Traditions

And then a strong iconic ink rendering of Hiawatha himself by John R. Neill, the illustrator who brought to life so much of the land of Oz.

John R. Neill — Hiawatha — 1909

Should you ask me, whence these stories?
Whence these legends and traditions . . .
— HW Longfellow

At the Feet of Laughing Water

This post is slightly similar to the previous post, in that the artist, W.L. Dodge, seems to have painted two versions of the same painting—here illustrating a passage from Longfellow's Hiawatha. Only in this case, they are so similar, one can wonder if they are the same painting, but reworked. The differences are very subtle, but the difference that stands out the most is the quiver on Hiawatha's back.

This is getting confusing, trying to explain this, but the one on top is the later painting scanned from a very old book, barely past the time it was painted. The bottom painting, painted earlier, is scanned from a recent art book. So it's possible that reproduction methods could account for the difference, except that details like the quiver and slight other differences say otherwise.

Regardless, either painting — associated with the excerpt of poem by Longfellow — touches my heart. Only, well, 7 days is a long time under the circumstances.

William de Leftwich Dodge — The Death of Minnehaha — 1887

William de Leftwich Dodge — The Death of Minnehaha — 1885

And he rushed into the wigwam,
Saw the old Nokomis
slowly rocking to and fro moaning,
Saw his lovely Minnehaha
Lying dead and cold before him.

Then he sat down still and speechless,
On the bed of Minnehaha,

At the feet of Laughing Water,
At those willing feet, that never more
Would lightly run to meet him,
Never more would lightly follow.
With both hands his face he covered,
Seven long days and nights he sat there,
As if in a swoon he sat there,
Speechless, motionless, unconscious
Of the daylight or the darkness.

— HW Longfellow's 'Hiawatha'

Friday, April 29, 2011

Waiting and Mad

I have lots of great work by Charles Russell, the great cowboy (and Indian) artist of the late 1800s and early 1900s, but I have not taken the time to be an expert on the details of his life.

I have no idea how the two paintings below are related to each other, other than Russell taking a go at the same composition — but that doesn't prevent me from marveling at their beauty (and being a married man, I certainly understand the bottom painting by its title).

Charles Russell — Keeoma — 1896

Charles Russell — Waiting and Mad — 1899

From My Favorite Decade

Guy Hoff — Saturday Evening Post — August 3, 1935

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Act III Scene 1

Henry Justice Ford is another favorite of many people, and is most oft associated with Andrew Lang's fairy tale books. So it's fun to find a fanciful example of his work away from that well-known body of work, such as this frontis piece to a 1901 edition of The Tempest—the only illustration in this edition.

HJ Ford — The Tempest — 1901

Ride, Boldly Ride

Eric Kincaid — Eldorado

New Magic into the Old

Kinuko Craft is so adept at infusing new magic into the old magic of illustrators' styles of the late 19th and early 20th centuries:

Kinuko Craft — Sleeping Beauty — 2001

Walter Crane — The Sleeping Beauty — 1882

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Idyls of Bion & Moschus

The Idyls of Bion & Moschus, 1922, was the companion volume to Theocritus, as seen in the previous post—with fewer, but just as beautiful, illustrations by Sir William. You can read about Bion of Smyrna, here, and Moschus of Syracuse, here. But first, enjoy Flint's work from his finest era:

'Come, dear playmates, maidens of like age with me,
let us mount the bull here and take our pastime; . . .
how mild he is, and dear, and gentle to behold,
and no whit like other bulls'

'Woe, woe for Cypris," the mountains all are saying,
and the oak-trees answer, 'Woe for Adonis'

The herdsman bore off Helen, upon a time,
and carried her to Ida, sore sorrow to CEnone

Hesperus, golden lamp of the lovely daughter of the foam, . . .
hail, friend, and as I lead the revel to the shepherd's hut,
in place of the moonlight lend me thine

And she too is Sicilian, and on the shores by Aetna
she was wont to play

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Idyls of Theocritus

William Russell Flint is a favorite illustrator of many, and this 1922 volume of The Idyls of Theocritus is one of my favorites of his many wonderful works. Much of Flint's book illustration derives from a beautiful blending of ancient classical style with the sensibility of early 20th century design aesthetic.

Volume 2 of this set will follow, and if you're interested in the prose, read on here. If you're interested in the artwork, you're already in the right place:

Taunting me, thus she spoke: 'Get thee gone from me!
Wouldst thou kiss me, thou—a neatherd?'

Sweet, meseems, is the whispering sound of yonder pine tree,
goatherd, that murmureth by the wells of water

She too came, the sweetly smiling Cypris, craftily smiling she came,
yet keeping her heavy anger

Ah, lovely Amaryllis, why no more, as of old,
dost thou glance through this cavern after me,
nor callest me, thy sweetheart, to thy side

Clearista, too, pelts the goatherd with apples
as he drives past his she-goats,
and a sweet word she murmurs

To hear this makes her jealous of me, by Paean,
and she wastes with pain, and springs madly from the sea

They all call thee a 'gipsy,' gracious Bombyca,
and 'lean,' and 'sunburnt,'
'tis only I that call thee 'honey-pale'

The nymphs all clung to his hand,
for love of the Argive lad had fluttered
the soft hearts of all of them

She caught up her robes, and forth she rushed, quicker than she came

Hiero, like the mighty men of old,
girds himself for fight,
and the horse-hair crest is shadowing his helmet

Then sang they all in harmony,
beating time with woven paces,
and the house rang round with the bridal song

Love stood on a pedestal of stone above the waters.
And lo, the statue leaped, and slew that cruel one

Then marvelled the king himself, and his son, the warlike Phyleus,
. . . when they beheld the exceeding strength
of the son of Amphitryon

Now Pentheus from a lofty cliff was watching all . . .
Autonoe first beheld him, . . .
and, rushing suddenly, with her feet dashed all confused
the mystic things of Bacchus the wild

'Tis for thee to caress thy kine, not a maiden unwed

Monday, April 25, 2011

Horns of Elfland

Bernard Sleigh, the artist who was 28 when he created this fabulous chiaroscuro woodcut, came to have a strong belief in the reality of faerie in his later life. Having created a number of prints for literary and artistic books and magazines, he produced three volumes of engraved faerie subjects. I have not seen those volumes, and I would dearly love to.

This print evokes for me the atmosphere of Middle Earth, like a blend of the Shire and Rivendell, and for all we know may have inspired JRR Tolkien's imagination, who would have been eight years old when this was published. Note the details of dragon and marching troops. And don't forget to notice the miniscule fairy sprites and the distant water sirens.

Bernard Sleigh —The Horns of Elfland Faintly Blowing — 1900

"O! Hark O! Hear! How Thin & Clear
& Thinner Clearer Farther Going:
O! Sweet & Far From Cliff & Scar
The Horns of Elfland Faintly Blowing"

The Siesta

A sweet little pen & ink drawing from the early 20th century:

Charles Robinson — The Siesta

Sunday, April 24, 2011

You Haven't Heard the Last of This

Well, we had to skip another strip getting here, and this is the last strip I have from this storyline. We don't get perfect closure for the story, yet it seems appropriate enough to end it here.

It's sad to think I used to have nearly every Oop strip for a 6 or 7 year run, and then tossed them when I was overwhelmed with owning too much stuff. That was before I knew that other people had a manic fondness for this kind of stuff (cuz I prolly would have sold or given those strips away), and way before I could have dreamed that an ordinary guy like me would ever own a scanner.

But for some reason I kept this much of a storyline, and I've got some other intermittent Oop strips that will show up soon enough on this site. Anyway, all these Oops have been dedicated to charlie, one of those people with that manic fondness I was talkin' 'bout.

Well, Now, Isn't That Sweet

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Aw, For Pete Sake

There's something perversely comforting about watching Oop's troubles.

Be prepared now, after this one there's only two strips left in this storyline. Enjoy Ceelee while you can and realize we won't have 'closure' to this arc.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Here we have two pages of watercolor studies by William Russell Flint, created when he was . . . ahem . . . eighty years young!

Sir William Russell Flint — Variations on a Theme — 1960

Sir William Russell Flint — Variations II — 1960

Word Images

This blog is about images, and this header from a pulp contents page certainly deserves to be seen in that context. Even the 'ordinary' logo-type is enticing.

But consider for a moment the notion of word images. The teaser blurbs for these stories paint vivid scenes on the canvas of my mind. What about you? Isn't this stuff what science fiction is all about?

Erupting from hyper-space in the teeth of startled DIC patrols and readying all hands for a crash=landing, adventurer Fletcher Pell could still wonder which he dreaded more—the U-235 in the hold . . . or the strange girl by his side . . .

His black science threatened the whole cosmos. Against him frail Princess Nuala thrust her ancient knowledge—but he sneeringly smashed that. And space-toughened Clark Travis stood by helplessly. Of what use here was a pair of ready fists?

Quoting one more:

They played a ghastly game on that lonely asteroid. Killer and victim-to-be danced and feinted between space beacon and ship. Only the stars knew the winner.

All the blurbs (and the stories) are worth reading. Look at those authors! Bradbury, Fox, Knight! THIS was the golden age of science fiction!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Great Victorian Themes

Shakespeare and mythology, two great Victorian era themes.

Madeleine Lemaire — Ophelia

Madeleine Lemaire — Selene

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Derivative Art

I love to compare derivative art to its source. Here we see a movie background production painting compared to the original source — changing a god into an angel and showing the difference in wings and clothing, or lack thereof.

Dante's Inferno, starring Spencer Tracy —1935

Willy Pogany is credited on the technical staff for this film. I would think it's possible he had a major hand in painting this adaptive art.

William Bouguereau — Psyche et L'Amour — 1889

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Is Flying Really Safe?

When everyday science was an adventure . . .

Herbert Paus —Popular Science Monthly — November 1927

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Speedometer Works

Holy crap, what a dark and gritty poster. Can't you just picture this guy, 19 years later, commanding a Panzer division, blitzkrieging across Poland? That looks like a swastika disguised as a logo up in the corner.

Ludwig Hohlwein — Tachometerwerke —1920

Drame Lyrique

Yow. Ow. She done give 'im such a whack!

Georges Rochegrosse — Gismonda — 1919

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Quite a grand epic treatment for people 'just' having fun:

Renital — Bridlington — British poster — 1925

I'd Have Bet My Whiskers

One more Oop for now, then we'll mix in some other stuff.