“In the Valley of the Shadows” by Howard Pyle (1902)
Mr Pyle likes very much to have us watch him work and the other day we went up to his house & watched him work on a picture (one of four) for the Xmas Century. It was great and seeing him produce such a thing was a treat & helped to strengthen my confidence in him. He is undoubtedly the greatest in his line and oh such a fine man.So wrote Allen Tupper True - then a probationary student of Howard Pyle at Chadd’s Ford* - to his mother back home in Colorado on July 11, 1902. He was referring to Pyle’s illustrations for “The Travels of the Soul” which came out in The Century Magazine for December 1902. But which one did True see? Well, on November 24, 1902, he wrote his father and said:
How do you like his work in this (Xmas) Century? It was great to see him painting on that third one ‘The Valley of the Shadow of Shadows’ [sic]...And where was Pyle “painting on that third one”? At what was then known as Lafayette Hall, the house where Pyle stayed when teaching at “The Ford” from 1898 to 1903 - just across the road from the studios at Turner’s Mill. Here’s what the place looks like these days:
This photo, by the way, comes from some kind of real estate listing that states: “The Brandywine School of Art was birthed in this home and the property was immortalized by Andrew Weyth in his painting ‘Painters Folly’". Surely they mean Andrew Wythe! Just kidding. Seriously, though, I don’t know where to begin....
* Although it’s now commonly or even officially called “Chadds Ford” - sans apostrophe - Pyle always referred to the village as “Chadd’s Ford”, so I’ve been following his precedent for the sake of consistency.