The Winter 2009 Baum Bugle has arrived, highlighting The Road to Oz which was published in 1909, 101 years ago. Among the various articles is one by editor Scott Cummings, pointing out a number of the fun details and enigmas contained within John R. Neill's elaborate illustrations for this book. It inspired me to take another look and show an additional item I've noticed within the illustrations.
Within the chapter heading drawing shown to the right, scanned from a later printing of the book, there are a quite a few portraits of Oz characters and unidentified people/creatures.
We can see Jack Pump- kinhead, the Tin Woodman, Toto, a possible witch, and an un- identified man in the garland on the left side. On the right, the Wizard and the Scarecrow are clear, as well as a couple others who aren't as easily identified. On the two stems of greenery next to the Shaggy Man's portrait are several other faces, cleverly concealed within the berries. This kind of cleverness and attention to detail is what made me a huge fan of Neill's artwork.
Another fun detail, which is mentioned in the article, occurs in the drawing of John Dough's arrival at the Emerald City. In the branches of the tree, we can see an orchestra of birds, apparently all owls, with large and small drums, cello, and two different horns. They are accompanying another owl who is singing from a song sheet. This grouping is very reminiscent of the bunny bands Neill would draw in future projects. An example is shown below, from the collection of the Neill family.