Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Tales

The 2 illustrations seen above are wood engravings by the very accomplished artist Alexander Anderson (1775-1870), considered to be America's first "commercial artist". I have posted previously on Anderson's prolific work, and will likely do so again, as he had a very distinguished career. These 2 wood engravings were used for the very popular childrens' book series, Parley's Christmas Tales. The first illustration was likely used as a title page while the second was used as the cover design seen below.        
      First published in Boston in 1827, the Parley's series were one of the first childrens' books to be based upon true stories rather than fairies, giants or monsters. Because of their popularity, they soon became a victim of plagiarism and eventually folded. Below is a well-loved Peter Parley's book published in 1838 with the same Anderson wood engraving as seen above.

:: The 2 illustrations above are from the NYPL Digital Gallery. The image of book above is from the University of Washington's Special Collections.

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