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

Friday, March 12, 2010

Winter Baum Bugle

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.


Nasal Noteworthy said...

Hi Bill--Love this blog! Upon closer inspection i was able to pick put the following in the chaptwer heading detail. On the left border wereJack Pumpkinhead, the Good Witch of the North, the Tin Woodman, Toto, Para Bruin (from John Dough)and either Uncle Henry or Santa. On the right side are two unknowns, the Wizard, either John Dough or the candy man frim Dot and Tot In Merryland, and the Scarecrow. The first verticle border is unknown, but in the second there are from the top, possibly the braided man, then Dorothy and Ozma.

Just my thought.

Bill Jannke

Evelyn Yvonne Theriault said...

I'm an English Language Arts teacher in Quebec. I found this post very interesting because over the past few years we have a much greater emphasis on "visual literacy" and the notion of "reading" the illustrations as well as the text. In fact I've just finished a series of workshops in which we are promoting the use of illustrated picture books (including graphic novels) in the classroom.
The illustrations in your post are examples of how much we can gain from a close reading of the illustrations.
Evelyn in Montreal

Bill Campbell said...

I've always been a fan of illustrated books, in part because so often the illustrations are not an exact match to the text. I think this alternate view can add another layer of richness to the story.