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

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Once again, the Oz characters celebrate a holiday! Be sure to click the image for a larger view.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Stocking Series

Here is one of Reilly & Britton's special publications - the Christmas Stocking Series, packed in a cardboard Christmas trunk! This is a rather delicate item that doesn't turn up very often - especially with its lid! The books in the trunk are traditional titles such as Fairy Tales from Grimm, Fairy Tales from Anderson, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty and The Night Before Christmas. But in this package we also find the much more recent stories of Little Black Sambo and Peter Rabbit - a pair of American piracies of newer English tales.

These six books have a rather tenuous connection to Baum - he contributed a preface with the history of the Christmas Stocking, used in each volume. The series was first published in 1905, and they seem to have been popular little books as they went through several printing states and styles of packaging. They were still being published when Reilly & Britton became Reilly & Lee in 1919.

The cardboard trunk is a whimsical addition, with its various labels for the Jack Frost Transfer Co. and Hollywreath Inn, etc. This particular set is from ca. 1913 when the trunk first appeared. When first printed, the books were available in a special little bookcase. Personally, I prefer the trunk!

Friday, December 6, 2013

An Oz Lamp

Quite some time ago - about 2 1/2 years in fact -  I blogged about the idea of combining a Tiffany Studios' Poppy lamp design with W. W. Denslow's characters from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I've always found the design of the flowers on the lamp pattern to be very reminiscent of Denslow's illustrations in the book. I've done it at long last, and here's the result.

The idea was to keep the characters on one side of the lamp, so it could be enjoyed as either a Tiffany Poppy, or as an Oz lamp. The idea works pretty well!

Here are the drowsy Lion and Dorothy, as well as the wide awake Scarecrow and Tin Woodman. Dorothy is based on an illustration from the deadly poppy field chapter of the book, while her companions are taken from the endpaper design for the second edition, published in 1903.

The other side of the lamp is the classic Tiffany Studios Poppy design, without any additions. The Poppy lamp was originally designed around 1900 by Clara Driscoll, who supervised the design of quite a few of the floral Tiffany shades. The base was made at our studio, in conjunction with a glass blower and bronze foundry, and is styled after a number of Tiffany glass bases.

This year has been a busy one for Oz-inspired glass - here's a preview of another upcoming project:

Monday, December 2, 2013

Blown Away

Blown Away is an odd little book published in 1897, three years before The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The interesting thing about it is that the heroines, two young girls named Beatrice and Jessie, are transported by cyclone to a strange land, where they meet a variety of unusual creatures and people. It was written by the well-known English actor Richard Mansfield, who spent a good deal of his later life in America, until his death in Connecticut in 1907; I wonder if L. Frank Baum, being involved in theater much of his life, ever met Mansfield?

The two men were contemporaries, Baum born in 1856 and Mansfield in 1857. Mansfield began his career performing Gilbert & Sullivan roles with the D'oyly Carte Opera Company. He gained renown for his role as the title character(s) in Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and became a highly praised Shakespearean actor.

Unfortunately, the book is not particularly good and, like so many of the period, owes a large debt to the Alice books of Lewis Carroll. If anyone cares to attempt it, the text can be read online here. The cleverest part is the wonderful Art Nouveau binding which, when opened flat, forms a nearly symmetrical image showing both girls being swept up in the wind!