Friday Favorites #8: N.C. Wyeth

Friday Favorites is a weekly meme hosted here, that spotlights a favorite author, book, series, publisher, cover, blog, etc. Basically whatever bookish thing that you love, recommend, and want to tell others about. Just pick one and link up to my post each Friday to share. You can use the graphic I used above, the other one here, or your own.

Dena, from Books for Kids, has linked to my meme the past couple of weeks. She has been sharing her favorite illustrators. This reminded me of one of my favorite illustrators, N.C. Wyeth.

 This is a self-portrait.
The first time I saw N.C. Wyeth's illustrations was when I was quite young. I can't even remember exactly how old. I just know that it was when I read The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter. My father started collecting books illustrated by N.C. Wyeth after he found this one, especially the Scribner Illustrated Classic editions. Then when I moved out of the house and got married I began my own collection. To date, my collection includes:

I haven't collected any of his illustrated books for a while, but this post reminded me that I should take a look again to see what others I can get my hands on. I know he illustrated The Arabian Nights and I would love to get a copy. Here are a few of his illustrations:

From Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

From The Boy's King Arthur by Sidney Lanier
From The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson
From Westward Ho by Charles Kingsley
From Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter

I posted some others on my Tumblr page, if you're interested in looking at them. I really love his illustrations. I have fond memories of looking at them as we read some of the books he illustrated as a family and also on my own. I have read most of the books I own, but not since I was a child. My goal is to eventually re-read all of them.

About the Illustrator

Newell Convers Wyeth was born on October 22, 1882, in Needham, Massachusetts. Growing up on a farm, he developed a deep love of nature. His mother, the daughter of Swiss immigrants, encouraged his early artistic inclinations in the face of opposition from his father, a descendant of the first Wyeth to arrive in the New World in the mid-17th century. His father encouraged a more practical use of his talents, and young Convers attended Mechanic Arts High School in Boston through May 1899, concentrating on drafting. With his mother's support he transferred to Massachusetts Normal Art School and there instructor Richard Andrew urged him toward illustration. He studied with Eric Pape and Charles W. Reed and then painted with George L. Noyes in Annisquam, Massachusetts, during the summer of 1901.

On the advice of two friends, artists Clifford Ashley and Henry Peck, Wyeth decided to travel to Wilmington, Delaware, in October 1902, to join the Howard Pyle School of Art. Howard Pyle, one of the country's most renowned illustrators, left a teaching position at Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry in Philadelphia to open his own school of illustration in Wilmington. Pyle was an inspired teacher and Wyeth an attentive pupil. The master emphasized the use of dramatic effects in painting and the importance of sound, personal knowledge of one's subject, teachings Wyeth quickly assimilated and employed throughout his career. The astute young man recognized the value of Pyle's instruction, writing to his mother just after his arrival, "the composition lecture...opened my eyes more than any talk I ever heard." (BJW, p. 21) In less than five months, Wyeth successfully submitted a cover illustration to the Saturday Evening Post.

Following Pyle's maxim to paint only from experience, Wyeth made three trips between 1904 and 1906 to the American West. He spent much of these trips simply absorbing the Western experience which allowed him to paint images that would place him among the top illustrators of his day. By 1907, Wyeth was heralded in Outing Magazine as "one of our greatest, if not our greatest, painter of American outdoor life." His pictures had appeared in many of the most popular magazines of the period, such as Century, Harper's Monthly, Ladies' Home Journal, McClure's, Outing, and Scribner's.

Have you seen any of his illustrations or read any of these books? Do you have a favorite to share this week?

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