In 1904, John R. Neill was tapped to illustrate the second Oz book, The Marvelous Land of Oz. Apparently he was busy with other projects at the time, and hesitated to accept the job - but fortunately, he had second thoughts. He would continue as official Oz illustrator until his death in 1943.
In 1900 L. Frank Baum and W. W. Denslow had scored a hit as author and illustrator of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but sadly that relationship had soured, due in part to disagreements over profits from the hit Broadway production of the book. In illustrating this second title, Neill deliberately used a simpler, bolder style of drawing to help transition from the well known illustrations of Denslow. His images are far more poster-like than his work in later Oz titles.
This is the original drawing for a color plate in the book, showing the creation of Jack Pumpkinhead by the boy Tip. This piece has suffered obvious damage over the past 100+ years, but it's currently being restored to a more stable state. Sadly, this is not an uncommon occurrence among vintage illustration art!
The Land of Oz was the only Oz title other than the Wizard that I read when I was quite young, and it's always held a special place for me in the series. Part of that was due to the wonderful and plentiful illustrations in the book - they really gave me a sense of what Oz was, and looked like. Consequently, I'm thrilled to have a piece from the book!