Thursday, April 12, 2012

Howard Pyle’s Wedding Pictures

“The Sailor’s Wedding” by Howard Pyle (1895)

It’s Howard Pyle’s wedding anniversary today: on April 12, 1881, the 28-year-old artist-author married the 22-year-old Anne Poole, daughter of the J. Morton and Ann (Suplee) Poole, in a Quaker ceremony in the parlor of the Poole house at 207 Washington Street in Wilmington. Pyle’s close friend and fellow illustrator, Arthur B. Frost, was best man and his sister, Katharine, was one of the bridesmaids. Lunch followed and later that day the couple took the train to Washington and stayed just a few blocks from the Executive Mansion at the Arlington House, the finest hotel in the city at that time (and not to be confused with Custis-Lee Mansion across the Potomac River in Virginia).

Somehow, weddings don’t show up too often in Pyle’s pictures. The image above, “The Sailor’s Wedding,” comes from his story “By Land and Sea” in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine for December 1895. Wilmingtonians might recognize Old Swedes Church in the background - a place Pyle was fond of, historically and aesthetically, and where his brother Walter married his first wife in 1884.

Pyle’s own nuptials more likely resembled the scene he presented in “A Quaker Wedding” (Harper’s Bazar, December 12, 1885). It’s tempting to call it a self-portrait, but Pyle was probably already balding and his sister recalled that the chairs were arranged in rows, with an aisle leading to a bow window, where the couple stood under a large bell made of white flowers. Even so, the mood and the crowd must have been akin to this.

“A Quaker Wedding” by Howard Pyle (1885)

And, just for the sake of completeness, here’s another Pyle wedding picture, from Building the Nation by Charles Carleton Coffin (Harper & Brothers, 1882).
“A Kentucky Wedding” by Howard Pyle (1882)

I might add that on April 12, 1911, Howard and Anne Pyle celebrated their 30th - and last - anniversary together by taking a day-trip from Florence to Pisa with their two daughters. I wish I had some pictures.

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