Sunday, February 21, 2010

February 21, 1885

Illustrators, have you ever received a letter from an admirer who complimented your work and then asked you to send them one of your originals? I recall my father receiving such a letter, which implied that his gift would somehow cure a child's illness. That may be so, but it's hard not to be cynical about these things. Here's how Howard Pyle deflected a request in a letter written 125 years ago today:
In answer to your request for one of my drawings (that, as I take it, being the matter intended in your letter) I am compelled to say that I can hardly take the time to make you such a drawing as the “Lowland Brook” which is the work not of a minute, but a day.

Maybe I may sometime send you a rough sketch if I happen at any time to have one by me, but hardly such a drawing as that...
Pyle painted "The Lowland Brook" in the fall of 1880, probably beginning it in October on location in the Poconos, then finishing it back in his studio at his parents' house at 714 West Street in Wilmington. It was one of several illustrations for his article, "Autumn Sketches in the Pennsylvania Highlands," published in Harper's New Monthly Magazine for December 1881. The 3.7 x 5.2" engraving was by John Hellawell. Please pardon the printing flaw!

No comments: