It was a good week and I had a nice find. I picked up a small lot of early printing Wizard of Oz books, Reilly & Lee, illustrated by John R. Neill. So now I have the opportunity to share some wonderful art from the Oz books.
Neill was a naturally gifted artist and an art school dropout. He was reported as saying, "They have nothing to teach me." He delved into a career as a newspaper illustrator honing his skills in busy Philadelphia newsrooms. He branched out into book illustrations and eventually became a freelance illustrator.
He is the most well known illustrator of Oz, illustrating 35 books in the series. It is enjoyable to peruse the Oz books, as some were primarily illustrated in black and white; some were illustrated with color plates and some were illustrated with four-color throughout. The Patchwork Girl of Oz is an example of an edition which used four-color throughout. Love these bright illustrations.
The illustrated endpapers are vibrant.
I really like the design of these pages.
The first illustrator of Oz, W.W. Denslow, illustrated Dorothy as a younger, chubbier little girl with reddish-brown hair. Neill totally changed and modernized Dorothy in Ozma of Oz.
Dorothy from Dorothy and The Wizard in Oz.
The Emerald City of Oz has some very pretty color plates of Dorothy in a very romantic style.
Another great image from The Emerald City of Oz
Dorothy with the Princess Ozma in Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz.
Neill's OZ illustration career spanned 30+ years. What a fun way to make a living!