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

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Del Rey Road

The cover for the Del Rey edition of The Road to Oz is once again based on a full page John R. Neill drawing. This is the smallest of the Oz cover paintings by Michael Herring. 

I find it odd that he was very inconsistent in his choice of materials and sizes for these pieces. Most of the Baum covers are painted on a rigid board similar to foamcore. Other pieces are painted on masonite, stretched canvas, canvas board, and stretched linen. The sizes range from this piece at 14.5" x 24.5" to pieces that are 24" x 36". I would have thought it simpler to have one size and one material to work with for the entire series, but that's just me. I suppose, since they were not all being done at one time, he worked with what he had on hand, or in the method he was currently comfortable with. The variety does add another level of interest to the pieces. 

 This is a straightforward adaptation of Neill's drawing without any major changes. On the painting, the Oz banner has been dropped a bit lower than in the drawing. When viewing the painting in person, you can see that the banner was originally painted higher, then painted out and lowered. This was done so that it would not intefere with the Oz in the book title. The jagged rocks have been added to the foreground, and due to the proportions of the painting, the composition is not as tight as that of the drawing.

As with all the paintings in the series, the image was cropped for the printed cover.


Anonymous said...

Hi Bill -

It is my understanding that the first seven Baum Del Reys were a rush job on Herrings part. He got the job late and had to crank these first seven out in a huge hurry. Which is one reason the first seven are all much more closely based on actual Neill illustrations. These first seven were also released simultaneously. The rest of the Del Reys came out by themselves or in much smaller batches in any case.

Perhaps the rush-job had something to do with the differing sizes and formats... -David Maxine

Bill Campbell said...

That would make sense, especially as to why the first covers are so precisely based on Neill drawings - later in the series the covers become more original.