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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 »