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Posts Tagged ‘illustrations’

The Buccaneer Was a Picturesque Fellow

March 5, 2014 | by

The author and illustrator Howard Pyle was born today in 1853. These illustrations are from Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates, a 1921 compilation of his famous pirate stories; its preface is reprinted below.

pyle pirates kidd on the deck of the adventure galley

Kidd on the Deck of the Adventure Galley

pyle pirates 1 on the tortugas

On the Tortugas

pyle pirates the buccaneer was a picturesque fellow

The Buccaneer Was a Picturesque Fellow

pyle pirates 2 she would sit quite still permitting barnaby to gaze

She Would Sit Quite Still, Permitting Barnaby to Gaze

pyle pirates 3 buried treasure

Buried Treasure

pyle pirates the bullets were humming and singing clipping along the top of the water

The Bullets Were Humming and Singing, Clipping Along the Top of the Water

pyle pirates captain keitt

Captain Keitt

pyle pirates extorting tribute from the citizens

Extorting Tribute from the Citizens

pyle pirates I am the daughter of that unfortunate captain keitt

I Am the Daughter of that Unfortunate Captain Keitt

pyle pirates then the real fight began

Then the Real Fight Began

pyle pirates who shall be captain

Who Shall Be Captain?


Pirates, Buccaneers, Marooners, those cruel but picturesque sea wolves who once infested the Spanish Main, all live in present-day conceptions in great degree as drawn by the pen and pencil of Howard Pyle.

Pyle, artist-author, living in the latter half of the nineteenth century and the first decade of the twentieth, had the fine faculty of transposing himself into any chosen period of history and making its people flesh and blood again—not just historical puppets. His characters were sketched with both words and picture; with both words and picture he ranks as a master, with a rich personality which makes his work individual and attractive in either medium. Read More »


Best Western

February 26, 2014 | by

Happy Birthday, Buffalo Bill.


Postcard, Courier Lithography Company, ”Buffalo Bill” Cody, 1900, National Portrait Gallery, via Google Art Project

Buffalo Bill's Special Service; or, The Death Dance of the Apaches. 1906
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Ned Buntline. Buffalo Bill's Best Shot. 1897
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Buffalo Bill's Last Scalp (Ornum and Company's Indian Novels, No. 6). 1872

“Buffalo Bill's Last Scalp”, Ornum and Company’s Indian Novels, 1872

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No one did more to shape our concept of the American West than William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody, the hunter, would-be cowboy, and showman whose traveling revue, “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World,” helped create the dime-novel image of frontier life that persists to this day. Cowboys, injuns, tipis, headdresses, firewater, peace pipes, weathered wide-brimmed hats, fearless feats of derring-do, stagecoach heists, impossibly accurate gunplay, bucolic campfires, tremulous harmonicas, bareback rides across windswept prairies, vast herds of grazing bison, virile stallions, lawless lands, hootin’, hollerin’, spectoratin’—the whole whooping metaverse came straight out of Bill’s fringed leather pockets. Today, his story exists in a kind of liminal space between history, mythos, and stagecraft; no one really knows what’s true and what isn’t. But however he lived, the dude gave us the Western, and he reminds of simpler times. He staked his massive celebrity on the speed with which he could dispatch a herd of buffalo—think about that.

These illustrations pay fitting tribute to the Buffalo Bill zeitgeist: its bumptious individualism, its rugged sense of adventure, and, yes, its racial insensitivity. Except where noted, they come from the first of his two autobiographies, 1879’s The Life and Adventures of Buffalo Bill, and from Buffalo Bill Stories, “a weekly publication devoted to border history” from the early twentieth century. As bigoted as some of these images are, though, it’s worth noting that Bill hired many Native Americans to tour in his troupe—“show Indians,” as they were pejoratively known—and he shared in their horror as the West he knew was tamed, subdivided, denatured, and “civilized.” Quoth Wikipedia: “He called [Indians] ‘the former foe, present friend, the American,’ and once said, ‘Every Indian outbreak that I have ever known has resulted from broken promises and broken treaties by the government.’”



Welcome to Wellcome

January 21, 2014 | by

V0042992 Cupid inspiring plants with Love, in a tropical landscape. C

Thomas Burke after Philipp Reinagle, Cupid inspiring plants with Love, in a tropical landscape, 1805, via Wellcome Images.

Enjoy viscera? Of course you do! And you’re in luck: as of yesterday, London’s Wellcome Library, whose specialty is medical history, has opened up more than 100,000 images in its capacious digital archive for free download. Whether your tastes run to the macabre or the beautiful—not to say, of course, that such things are mutually exclusive—the Wellcome galleries have something for you. Conjoined twins wearing swimsuits? They’re here. A man being hit on the head by a falling flowerpot in Rome, circa 1890? Coming right up. Or perhaps—the keystone of any collection—a surgeon letting blood from Thomas Thurlow, Bishop of Durham, but leaving his patient in order to attend to a sick horse. And it’s not all grisly; above, for instance, you’ll see Cupid, slinging arrows so that the flora of the tropics will be inclined to reproduce. (You know, sexually.)

Click in good health.



He Did, After All, Attend the Tuskegee Institute

January 16, 2014 | by

This week, we’re presenting Timothy Leo Taranto’s illustrated author puns. Today:

Ralph Elliphant

Ralph Elliphant



Two-Time Winner of the National Borscht Award

January 15, 2014 | by

This week, we’re presenting Timothy Leo Taranto’s illustrated author puns. Today:

Philip Broth

Philip Broth



Author of Tender Is the Bite

January 14, 2014 | by

This week, we’re presenting Timothy Leo Taranto’s illustrated author puns. Today:
f scott spitzgerald

F. Scott Spitzgerald