Welcome to my blog, featuring various pieces from my collection of Oz books, artwork and memorabilia!
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Neill Easter Rabbits
Here is a series of six Easter postcards produced by the Stecher Litho Co. around 1920, using John R. Neill illustrations of rabbit musicians. These pieces are not signed, which may indicate that the images were used without Neill’s knowledge.
Stecher Lithographic Company was developed by Frank A. Stecher, a native of Germany who came to Rochester, New York in 1870. Stecher Litho was developed from a printing company established in 1865, and I believe it still exists today as Stecher-Traung-Schmidt Company of Detroit. Aside from postcards the company produced nurserymen’s catalogs, fruit labels, cigar labels, picture books, etc.
These Easter cards were available in the 787 series and the 900 series, both lettered A to F. The 900 series was more elaborately produced with embossing on the rabbits, and a touch of gilt ink on the lettering. The top 3 cards are from the 900 series. These images were also mirror image of those in the 787 series.
The rabbits seem to be a continuation of a subject the artist enjoyed. In 1915 Neill drew a rabbit drummer for the copyright page of The Scarecrow of Oz (see left - I wish this was the actual artwork!), and another group of musician rabbits was featured as the cover of the March 1916 Pictorial Review magazine. There is also a watercolor of yet another group of rabbit musicians in the collection of the Neill family.
Posted by Bill Campbell