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Friday, 29 January 2016

William Barnes, Rural Poems Illustrated (Boston, 1869)

Library of Congress copy, digitised

"Not Far To Go"

Colour design above by Winslow Homer

Compare with his painting, The Dinner Horn

There are at least five images in this posting which were designed by Winslow Homer.

Update: Professor David Tatham has kindly responded to my enquiry, as follows: "The Homer illustrations are interesting and I believe represent Homer's real affinity with the poem's texts". He lists the Winslow Homer illustrations as the following:

a. Not far to go
b. The Stonen Steps
c. The Old Clock
d. Broadshoulder'd Joe (ie The Prize Winners)
e. At the Door
f. Our Footsteps on the Hay (ie Soft Sounds)

See also: Winslow Homer and the Illustrated Book, by David Tatham, Syracuse University Press, 1992.

"White and Blue"

"Sheep in the Shade"

Above, three examples of Hammatt Billings' illustrations
("The Broken Jug"; picture immediately above).

Above, "The Stonen Steps", Winslow Homer

"The Surprise", Hammatt Billings

"Come and Meet Me, Husband to Wife"
Hammatt Billings

"Soft Sounds" ("Our Footsteps on the Hay")
 Winslow Homer

"At the Door", Winslow Homer

"Righting Up the Church"
Hammatt Billings

"The Old Clock"
Winslow Homer
(Initials on left not clear?)

 "The Prize Winners" ("Broadshoulder'd Joe")
Winslow Homer

From Accomplished in All Departments of Art - Hammatt Billings of Boston, 1818-1874, by James F. O' Gorman, University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, 1998:

"Billings's heyday as a book illustrator lasted through the 1850s and with the aftermath of the Civil War. His tireless production suggests that he was one of the most sought-after illustrators of his generation in the Boston area. Yet by the time of his death in 1974, he had been largely by-passed as a graphic artist of consequence. The handwriting appeared on the wall perhaps as early as 1869, when he was paid less for more work on the same project. Roberts Brothers' publication of William Barnes's Rural Poems, than was his erstwhile protégé, Winslow Homer. While Homer received $120 for six designs, Billings earned just $95 for seven, plus a cover device. Changing taste is clear from the illustrations as well, in the contrast between the heavy, plodding figures of Billings versus the lithe, light and linear forms of Homer".

Poems Illustrated in the Boston edition:

Not Far to Go
White and Blue
Sheep in the Shade
The Prize Winners
Righting Up the Church
The Broken Jug
The Stonen Steps
The Old Clock
At the Door
Soft Sounds
The Surprise
Come and Meet Me, Husband to Wife

Many of these poems were previously published by Barnes as poems in the Dorset dialect.

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