Vintage Magic: The Art of Elenore Abbott and Howard Pyle

I recently got a Wacom Intuos Pro tablet, which is exciting. I’m planning to use it to create illustrations for posts, so you can look forward to that soon (if you feel my scribblings are worth looking forward to, that is).

But in the meantime, and for some artistic inspiration, I’ll share some of my favorite vintage fairy tale art/artists from a list thoughtfully compiled by my 2014-self, who was obsessed with fairy tale illustration. It’s a long, long list, so you can expect another like this next week … and the next … and the next … Really, it was an incredible struggle to just pick a couple and leave the rest for later.

All images below are in the public domain — one of the perks of vintage illustrations. I applied slight brightness/color corrections where it seemed necessary.

Elenore Abbott

Elenore Abbott was an illustrator for various magazines and books in the early 1900s, including an edition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. I love the richness of the colors and details in her art. (Click an image to see it larger.)

Howard Pyle

One of Abbott’s influences was Howard Pyle. Frankly, I prefer Abbott’s art, but the below painting by Pyle,”The Mermaid,” is just lovely. Most of his art (at least that I can find online, public domain or otherwise) is either black-and-white (like in The Story of King Arthur and His Knights) or of pirates (not quite fitting the fairy tale theme), so I opted not to include those, since these are supposed to be my favorites.

This seems to be the original image, which is quite beautiful as is, though it appears somewhat faded. According to the notes on Wikipedia, it was donated to the Delaware Art Museum in 1940 by Pyle’s children, having been left unfinished on his easel in November 1910 when Pyle left to travel Europe.

Howard Pyle Painting 1910 The Mermaid public domain Flickr
“The Mermaid”

The below version comes from Flickr, and appears to have been enhanced. I prefer the depth of color and contrast in this version, though it’s likely altered from the original.

Howard Pyle The Mermaid Flickr public domain


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