Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The First Thanksgiving

In early September 1891, Horace Bradley (1862-1896) of Harper and Brothers' Art Department wrote to ask Howard Pyle if he would consider illustrating a poem for the Thanksgiving issue of Harper's Bazar. Pyle replied on September 4:
The subject you propose, it strikes me, is somewhat hackneyed, for "The First Thanksgiving" in New England has been done and done and done. However, I should be glad to do it still again if you desire - it always is a popular subject.
Pyle sent in the completed full-page piece on October 13 and it appeared in Harper's Bazar for December 5, 1891, accompanying "The First Thanksgiving" by Theron Brown. In addition to what is shown here, Pyle drew an illustrated initial "O" and hand-lettered the title and text of the poem, but I've committed a little heresy by editing out those elements in order to display this part to better advantage. My apologies. Also, Pyle's correspondence indicates that he drew this actual size, so the dimensions of the original should be about 9 x 10 inches.

2 comments:

kev ferrara said...

This is a knockout! I had never seen Pyle's pen work at this level of finish. At least as good as his contemporaries, Remington, Vierge, Abbey and others...

This blog is off to one heck of a start!

Ian Schoenherr said...

(And the reproduction - and the scan - aren't even that great!) I remember I was blown away when I saw this for the first time: it's so solid, yet so loosely drawn, and so different from his 1880's pen and inks - but it's equally well and unexpectedly composed.