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

Sunday, May 2, 2010


This illustration from The Road to Oz (1909), of Polychrome being drawn back up to the rainbow by her father, is one of my favorite John R. Neill drawings. It combines all the elements I like in his work, a sense of the fantastic with beautiful line work and lovely imagery. This is a drawing I'd love to own, as it would be a highlight in any Neill collection!

Polychrome's second appearance is in Sky Island, part of L. Frank Baum's attempt to break away from the Oz series. Her entrance in this book is featured in another lovely Neill drawing, this time a double page spread. It's an elaborate drawing, but not as finely detailed as the earlier piece. Many of the same elements seen in the earlier illustration are here, but the image just doesn't feel as powerful. I think this is because the elements are more decorative, rather than involved in the drama of the moment. Of course, I wouldn't say no to this drawing - once again, it's a lovely example of work by Neill!

There are two more drawings by Neill of Polychrome returning to her rainbow. The first is in Tik-Tok of Oz. This time she is shown being unceremoniously pulled up by the disembodied arms of some of her sisters, rather than carefully gathered. And in Tin Woodman of Oz, she is pictured rising without the aid of anyone - perhaps by this time her father figured she had wandered away so many times, she was on her own for getting back home!


James C. Wallace II said...

I too find any and all drawings of Polychrome by Neill to be far superior to any done by others. I actually prefer the pen-and-ink over the color drawings. It's the same for me with black & white photos over color. There just seems to be more emotion conveyed in the simple lines of ink. I may have found an artist who is able to replicate this style and I hope someday he may draw Polychrome as she appears in my work, the Royal Magician of Oz series.

amateur idler said...

I'm so glad I stumbled across this blog while hunting for pictures of Polychrome! She was always a favorite. And I agree with the chap above - the pen and ink ones are almost better. I dreamed of wearing gossamer Polychrome clothes when I was eleven.

Anonymous said...

Ever notice that the way her dress is drawn suggests it's completely transparent? I always thought that was inappropriate.

Bill Campbell said...

Actually, her dress varies quite a bit from one book to the next - it seems to get steadily more transparent as the series goes on. But in her first appearance, her dress is described as soft fluffy robes that remind Dorothy of woven cobwebs, tinted with colors that melt into each other - so it never really struck me as inappropriate that there should be some transparency. After all, she is a fairy!