It's always an exciting time when new pieces of Oz art by John R. Neill come into the collection. Due to scarcity and expense, this doesn't happen too often! Today I'm showing a piece that I first saw 6 years ago, and have finally managed to obtain. This drawing is from page 63 of Tik-Tok of Oz, and is the illustration of Ozga, the Rose Princess, being exiled from her kingdom due to the other rose's desire for a King. As always, Neill's line work is amazing and his ability to suggest detail through apparently random pen strokes floors me. There is also a nice contrast between fine lines and bold brushstrokes, creating a sense of depth in the drawing.
Tik-Tok involves a lot of character displacement in the course of the story line; Shaggy Man has left home on a quest to find his brother who is missing, Betsy, Hank and Polychrome have been left to wander through shipwreck and accident, Queen Ann and her army have left home and been magically misplaced, and the Rose Princess and Nome King are both exiled from their kingdoms. Even though Tik-Tok is in many ways a rewritten version of Ozma of Oz, I think it's an important book in the Oz series due to this last point — this is when the Nome King becomes the disgruntled wanderer who figures in so many other Oz books.
The roses of the Rose Kingdom are a result of L. Frank Baum's theatrical interests, and are direct de- scendants of the chorus girl Poppies from the stage show of The Wizard of Oz. Tik-Tok of Oz was based upon another venture in the theater, The Tik-Tok Man of Oz, and the success of the Poppies in the earlier show must have influenced the creation of the Roses. Baum's second Oz book, The Marvelous Land of Oz, was also written with an eye to the stage. This time the magic flowers were enchanted sunflowers with girls faces. When this book became the stage show The Wogglebug, these turned up on stage as a chorus of Chrysanthemums!