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The Shambles Paperie

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Howard Pyle 1853- 1911

Posted on July 5, 2013 at 2:40 PM
Howard Pyle was an American illustrator and author, mostly of books for young people.

Pyle was interested in art and literature from a young age. He studied at the studio of F.A.Van der Weilen in Philadelphia for three years and had a few lessons at the Art Student's League of  New York.  This was the extent of his formal education.  His first illustrating commission was  from Scribner's Monthly and subsequently Harper's Weekly and for many other publications.

In 1900, he founded the Howard Pyle School of Illustration Art in Wilmington, DE.  Pyle and his students became known as the Brandywine School.   Of note, an unprecedented  50% of his students were women, remarkable for the time.

His first book, The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, was published in 1883 and received international acclaim from critics such as William Morris.

Other books include Otto of the Silver Hand (1888) which was about the life of the son of a robber baron during the Medieval Period . (He wrote and illustrated this book.) He also illustrated a four volume set on King Arthur.  

Pyle's illustrations of pirates (above) are responsible for our current stereotype of pirate dress.  (Look like anyone familiar?!) 

He also was a muralist and  painted the mural, The Battle of Nashville, at the Minnesota State Capitol!

van Gogh, a contemporary, wrote in a letter to his brother Theo that Pyle's work ".....struck me dumb with admiration".

Twentieth Century Literary Criticism notes:  "As time passed,Pyle's historical position as the founder of a distinctly American school of illustration and art, as the innovator who introduced the total-design approach and as the great reinventor of children's books, would outshine any single work he did, so that he is remembered less for any one project than for his total stance".




Pyle's students included:  N. C. Wyeth, Maxfield Parrish, Jesse Willcox Smith, Violet Oakley and many others.  We'll look into them later.






From the Merry Adventures of Robin Hood  

Categories: Howard Pyle

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