Welcome to my blog, featuring various pieces from my collection of Oz books, artwork and memorabilia!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Ozzy Adapting

I recently found my missing half of this set of advertising cards. I've had the Tin Woodman for some time, but the Scarecrow proved elusive! These were produced in 1928 to promote performances of a puppet play written by Ruth Plumly Thompson. I have some more information in an earlier post here.
I find the artwork for these images interesting; they are taken from the endpapers of The Patchwork Girl of Oz, published in 1913. The printing quality is quite poor, when compared with the original book endpapers - a common occurrence with later printings of Oz color plates.
The original artwork is in the archives of the International Wizard of Oz Club. The piece appears to have had a rough life, but this is because it originally served two purposes. The main drawing of the Scarecrow and Tin Man was done to be used as endpapers in the Little Wizard series of books. There was no landscape in the background, just a shadow under each of the figures. The image was printed in blue ink, and the shadow was stippled rather than solid.

In 1932, some of the Little Wizard books were reprinted to be used with sets of jigsaw puzzles, and later as advertising for Jello; this time the image was printed in black with solid shadows underneath. This seems to be what the original artwork would have looked like in its original form.

When looking at the drawing in the club archives, it becomes obvious that the main image of the characters was drawn on a smaller piece of paper, which was later glued to a larger sheet. The shadows beneath the figures were whited out, and a new background was drawn in by John R. Neill. Several of the illustrations from the Little Wizard Series were adjusted and reused in The Patchwork Girl; in this case, the paper size needed to be increased in order to be the correct proportion for the larger book!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Trouble Under Oz

In 2005, The Baum Family Trust began to publish Oz stories with a trilogy of new titles by Sherwood Smith. Unfortunately only two of the titles were published at the time, The Emerald Wand of Oz and Trouble Under Oz, leaving the series in limbo. This year, the final title has finally found its way into print courtesy of Pumpernickel Pickle press.

The first two books were illustrated by William Stout, and in August at
Winkie Con I met Mr Stout. We chatted a bit about John R. Neill's artwork, and I purchased a drawing done as a rough for the cover of the second book, published in 2006. As Mr. Stout is a fan of Oz, and the artwork of John R. Neill, it's not surprising that this image of the Nome King feels very Ozzy!

The new title, illustrated by Kim McFarland, is Sky Pyrates Over Oz. It can be purchased here through Lulu.com.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Peter and the Princess Revisited

Carl Grabo's Peter and the Princess was published by Reilly and Lee in 1920, and has all the features of an elaborately produced gift book of the time. It was sold in a box, used gold stamping on the cover and spine as well as gilt page edges, and had tissue guards placed over each color plate bearing captions for the images. And the images! Counting the cover, endpapers and title page, along with 8 additional inserts, there are 11 lovely watercolors by John R. Neill - making this one of his most elaborate color plate books since the days of The Emerald City of Oz. Sadly, there are no black and white text illustrations.

This copy is presumably a later variant of the book, as it is not as elaborately produced. The gold stamping and page edges are gone, there are no tissue guards, and most interesting, the cover image has changed. The picture used is the same as the book's frontispiece, and the original cover image is gone from the book. Another example of the variations to be found in books published by Reilly & Britton/Lee!