Saturday, January 29, 2011


I know this is heresy, but Maxfield Parrish is NOT one of my favorite golden age illustrators. Maybe it 's over-exposure that limits my appreciation, and don't get me wrong—his work has many high water marks, yet in general I like a lot of other illustrators' work more. But this illustration by Parrish is intriguing for its technique and its wealth of content in such a small space.

This is the original art for one of the illustrations from Kenneth Grahame's 'The Golden Age', an 1899 book. The art is black and gray wash, with white gouache touches, over graphite on beige wove paper. The inscription, by the artist, says:

"Alarums and Excursions." — Once again were damsels rescued, dragons disembowelled, and giants . . . etc.


Porky said...

Great image and inscription both!

Steve LeCouilliard said...

I'm with you on that, Thomas. I never really got into Maxfield Parrish. I expect his work was pretty visionary for it's time but I get the impression he was limited by the printing process at the turn of the century and his images look faded out to me.

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

Yeah, and somehow I look at a lot of his 'dreamy' paintings and think that they look like they're off a chocolate box, which of course some of them were. A few that he did for Edison Mazda were pretty nice and some others of course. It's amazing how his name caught fire in the antique dealer market.

E.G.Palmer said...

I'm thinking the same as Steve. All the scans of Parrish work I've found online seem to be from magazines and it seems that the art suffers from whatever printing process was used.