Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Two Victorian Book Illustrators You Should Know About

by Stephen J. Gertz

Louis Rhead, from The Arabian Nights.

Original art work by Louis Rhead and Harry Furniss, two noted illustrators of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, are featured in an  exhibition at The Bookshop in Old New Castle, Delaware from May 1‐31, 2011, presented by the Kelmscott Bookshop.

Louis Rhead, from Heidi.

Louis Rhead (1857‐1926) was a British‐born American artist. His talent was evident early, and he studied art in Paris before being named at the age of twenty-four as the Art Director for D. Appleton, a U.S. publishing firm. In the early 1890s Rhead became a prominent poster artist. As the interest in posters waned in the late 1890s he turned to book illustration.

Louis Rhead, from Jonah and the Whale.

He illustrated numerous childrens books, including editions of Heidi, Robinson Crusoe, Hans Brinker, and Swiss Family Robinson. The exhibit features a collection of fifteen finished drawings and forty-six preliminary studies done for several of his books.

Louis Rhead, St. Nicholas.

These accomplished and charming works are executed in both pen and ink and pencil and vary in size and paper used. There are drawings for Hans Brinker, Heidi, Pilgrim’s Progress, and Arabian Nights, as well as many others.

Harry Furniss, Collection.

Also on exhibit are the illustrations  by Harry Furniss (1854‐1925), a collection of thirty-one original pen and ink drawings that Furniss did as illustrations for his last book, Paradise in Piccadilly: The Story of Albany, and the many celebrities who lived there over time, including Lord Byron, Gladstone, Bulwer‐Lytton, Disraeli, and many other notables.

Harry Furniss, Horse.

Furniss, who died in 1925, was a noted illustrator and caricaturist. He wrote and illustrated twenty‐nine books of his own, and illustrated over thirty books by other authors. The drawings for the exhibit vary in size and in the type of paper used. Each drawing is signed, and many have the titles of the subject and notes to the printer. This is a delightful trove of original illustrations by a popular artist of his time.

Harry Furniss, Rope Walk.

The Bookshop in Old New Castle is located on the second floor of the historic opera house at 308 Delaware Street in New Castle, Delaware. It is part of a rotating series of monthly exhibits offered by   Oak Knoll Books, Between the Covers Rare  Books, The  Kelmscott  Bookshop and  the Old Bookshop  of  Bordentown,  the four partner-booksellers who comprise the bookshop, which opened May 1, 2010. Each are members  of  the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America.  Exhibits at the shop will highlight fine materials that represent the booksellers' specialties.

With thanks to Fran Durako and Susannah Horrum of The Kelmscott Bookshop for their assistance.

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