Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Many Illustrators of Anna Sewell's Black Beauty

I don't know how many different artists have illustrated a version of Black Beauty since it was first published in 1877. It may be the children's book with the most editions. I have read that the Bible is the only book that has sold more copies. It's popularity is a testament not only to the quality of the book, but also to the scores of animal lovers in the world. Anna Sewell told a story that needed to be told -- after all the centuries of servitude the horse has given mankind. It lives on today as a reminder to be kind to all living beings.
Every time I see a version of Black Beauty at a book sale, I buy it. Here are some interpretations:

Perhaps my favorite Black Beauty, by Wesley Dennis. Very soft, fluid. The perfect illustration for the narrative, "I remember a large pleasant meadow."

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The Walter Seaton Black Beauty, nice.

bb walter seaton

Cute Black Beauty art for young readers -- Wonder Book's BB with a little girl by George Santos

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Samuel Lowe's BB with a boy by George Pollard

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Distinctive style of Fritz Eichenberg

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And a "modern times" black Beauty by Susan Jeffers. Love her dreamy style, lots of attention to surrounding details. Nice lines.

bb susan jeffers

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