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

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Charles Livingston Bull

Animal Fairy Tales was a series of stories by L. Frank Baum, published in The Delineator magazine in 1905. In his stories, Baum introduced the concept of animal fairies, guardians of wildlife creatures. These tales were illustrated by Charles Livingston Bull, a prolific American artist who provided illustrations for many books by various authors, including works by Jack London, as well as posters and magazine pieces.

Baum had hoped to have a book version of the tales published, and worked to prepare the material as his health declined. However, this did not happen as he'd hoped. Reilly & Lee did publish one of the stories as a small book in the 1950's - Jaglon and the Tiger Fairies. Finally in 1969 the International Wizard of Oz Club published a book edition of the stories with new illustrations by Dick Martin - this book is available here at the club website. In 1992 Books of Wonder also published the tales, from the original magazine pages with the illustrations of Charles Livingston Bull.

Bull (1874 - 1932) was an excellent choice as illustrator for the series. He worked as a taxidermy apprentice at the age of 16, and went on to become chief taxidermist at the National Museum in Washington, D.C. Eventually he decided to pursue an illustration career, and was quite successful.The artist was well known for his atmospheric and decorative depictions of wildlife, both in monochrome and full color.

I don't know if any of the original art for the Animal Fairy Tales series survives. I've recently picked up a piece of the artist's work, unidentified as far as any publication is concerned. This is a typical example of the artist's monochromatic style.

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