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

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Electrical Household

Here's a bizarre and whimsical drawing by John R. Neill - an assortment of animated appliances that looks like it could have come right from the land of Oz! According to the work label on the back of the drawing, this illustration was drawn for Pictorial Review, in July of 1914.

In typical Neill fashion, the appliances all have faces and, in many cases, additional limbs. In fact, this kitchen looks like it could be in a suburb of Utensia, the village of kitchen implements visited by Dorothy in the 1910 book The Emerald City of Oz.

The row of eight electrical plugs under the window looks a little dodgy to me, but clearly the modern housekeeper has been freed from much of her labor!


Karyl C said...

Now that's my dream kitchen! (The lady even looks a little like Queen Ann of Oogaboo, doesn't she.)

Bill Campbell said...

That's right - with the flick of a switch it all gets done!

Anonymous said...

There's also live furniture drawn by Neill in THE ROYAL BOOK OF OZ.

partylike1912 said...

I'm very curious, (and I'm sure you know the answer to this.) How is it possible to tell that this drawing is by Neill if there's no signature? I'm sure there is a way, since I've seen many other artworks of his identified independent of a signature, but I'd be interested to know how that's done.

Bill Campbell said...

In the case of this particular piece, it was purchased from the collection of the Neill family. But there are many pieces of art by Neill that do not bear his signature - in fact, many of the Oz book drawings are not signed. He was prolific and produced a large amount of work for magazines, like this piece, and he wasn't very consistent about signing his work. Also, he used a variety of signatures over the years. Aside from all that, this piece practically screams Neill, from the style of pen work, the look of the humanized appliances and the central female figure. Even without signatures, his work is usually fairly easy to identify by his style.