Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cats and Dogs

I have always liked W. W. Denslow's illustrations. Even when I was little, I found his work very appealing. He had a uniqueness of vision and a vitality that is very engaging. Over the years I have built up a decent collection of Denslow material, including several original drawings.

A few years ago I was offered an original drawing from Denslow's 1903 picture book The House that Jack Built. I snapped it up. The drawing shows the cat, that caught the rat, that ate the malt that lay in the house that Jack built; as well as the dog, that chased the cat, that caught the rat, that ate the malt ... etc.

In the book (at right) the illustration is printed in color. You will see several modifications in the printed illustration: the line work of the dog is printed in gray, and the square box Denlsow drew has been rendered as a simple orange shape with no outline. In the original (above) you can see the little corner mark Denslow used to indicate where the text should be placed. 

The cat from this illustration was reused on the cover of Denslow's Picture Book Treasury, published in 1990 by Aracde, an imprint of Little Brown and Co. (see below)

So here ends the blog, about the art, that showed the dog, that chased the cat, that caught the rat, that ate the malt that lay in the house that Jack built!

3 comments:

Bill Campbell said...

Love the dog! I think Denslow was generally more successful with his animals than with his people.

Hungry Tiger Talk said...

Me, too! I may scan the drawing again to bring out the pencil sketch that's still visible. The subtle changes might make an interesting follow-up post.

I've never had a big problem with Denslow's people - even Dorothy - though there are a few heavy-handed Dorothy faces in WIZARD.

Hungry Tiger Talk said...

@Bill Oh, and thanks for the plug on the GENERIC DENSLOW cover - So many colors!