HOWARD PYLE (March 5, 1853 – November 9, 1911) was an American
illustrator and author, primarily of books for young people. He was a
native of Wilmington ,
In 1894, he began teaching illustration at the Drexel Institute of
Art, Science, and Industry (now
His 1883 classic publication The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
remains in print, and his other books frequently have medieval
European settings, including a four-volume set on
Pyle travelled to Florence,
* 1 Life
* 2 Major works
* 3 Critical response * 4 Selected bibliography * 5 See also * 6 References * 7 Additional reading * 8 External links
The Battle of Bunker Hill, Howard Pyle, 1897, showing the second British charge up Breed\'s Hill
Pyle was born in Wilmington, Delaware, the son of William Pyle and
Margaret Churchman Painter. As a child, he attended private schools
and was interested in drawing and writing from a very young age. He
was an indifferent student, but his parents encouraged him to study
art, particularly his mother. He studied for three years at the
studio of F. A. Van der Weilen in Philadelphia, and this constituted
the whole of his artistic training, aside from a few lessons at the
Art Students League of New York
In 1876, he visited the island of Chincoteague off Virginia and was
inspired by what he saw. He wrote and illustrated an article about the
island and submitted it to Scribner\'s Monthly . One of the magazine's
owners was Roswell Smith, who encouraged him to move to New York and
pursue illustration professionally. Pyle initially struggled in New
York; his lack of professional experience made it difficult for him to
translate his ideas into forms for publication. He was encouraged by
several working artists, however, including
Edwin Austin Abbey
He finally published a double-paged spread in the Harper\'s Weekly issue of March 9, 1878 and was paid $75—five times what he had expected. He became increasingly successful and was an established artist by the time that he returned to Wilmington in 1880. Pyle continued illustrating for magazines. He also collaborated on several books, particularly in American history. He wrote and illustrated his own stories, beginning with The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood in 1883. This book won international attention from critics such as William Morris . Over the following decades, he published many more illustrated works for children, many of which are still in print today.
Pyle married singer Anne Poole on April 12, 1881, and the couple had seven children. In 1889, he and his wife sailed to Jamaica, leaving their children in the care of relatives. While they were overseas, their son Sellers died unexpectedly. This loss may have inspired his children's book The Garden Behind the Moon, which is about death.
From 1894–1900, he taught illustration at the Drexel Institute. In
1900, he created his own school in Wilmington where he taught a small
number of students in depth. In 1906, he took up mural painting, which
was popular for public art. He painted The Battle of Nashville in the
state capitol of
Pyle developed his own ideas for illustrating pirate dress, as few
examples existed of authentic pirate outfits and few, if any, drawings
had been preserved. He created a flamboyant style incorporating
elements of Gypsy dress. His work influenced the design of costumes
for movie pirates from
In 1910, Pyle and his family went to
Pyle wrote and illustrated a number of books, in addition to numerous illustrations done for Harper's Weekly, other periodical publications, and various works of fiction for children.
THE MERRY ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD
Pyle synthesized many traditional
Pyle did not have much concern for historical accuracy, but he
renamed the queen-consort in the story "
Many of the tales in the
MEN OF IRON
Men of Iron is an 1891 novel about squire Myles Falworth who hopes to become a knight, thereby redeeming his family's honor. His father was falsely implicated in a plot to kill King Henry IV. The adventure tale follows Myles through his intensive training for knighthood and ends with him becoming a knight and challenging the wicked Lord Brookhurst Alban to trial by combat.
Otto of the Silver Hand , about the son of a robber baron during
the medieval period.
* Rejected of Men: A Story of To-day (1903), setting the story of
Buccaneer of the Caribbean, from Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates
Pyle was widely respected during his life and continues to be well regarded by illustrators and fine artists. His contemporary Vincent van Gogh wrote in a letter to his brother Theo that Pyle's work "struck me dumb with admiration."
Pyle's reputation stems from his innovation in form and illustration, creating an American school of illustration and art, and for the revival of children's books. 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.
He had a lasting influence on a number of artists who became notable
in their own right;
N. C. Wyeth ,
Frank Schoonover ,
Thornton Oakley ,
Allen Tupper True , Stanley Arthur, and numerous others studied under
him. According to Robert Vitz, the
Pyle is remembered primarily as an illustrator, but his books have also been analyzed for their literary qualities, particularly The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood. Taimi M. Ranta and Jill P. May have examined their influence on children's literature. May writes from a feminist sensibility. Susan F. Beegel has studied his influence on Ernest Hemingway . Alethia Helbig has reviewed his poetry, which has not been as highly valued as in his own time.
Malcolm Usrey wrote that Otto of the Silver Hand
has all the marks of a good historical novel: it has an exciting plot, with ample conflict and believable characters; it uses language and dialect appropriate to its setting and the characters; it has a significant, universal theme, and it presents the details of daily life in Germany of the thirteenth century accurately and unobtrusively, making the period real and alive.
Unless noted otherwise, all titles are listed in The Dictionary of American Biography.
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood (1883)
* Within the Capes (1885)
* Pepper and Salt (1886)
* The Rose of Paradise (1888)
* The Wonder Clock (1888), with his sister
Otto of the Silver Hand (1888)
* A Modern Aladdin (1892)
Men of Iron (1892)
* Twilight Land (1895)
* The Story of Jack Ballister's Fortunes (1895)
* The Garden Behind the Moon (1895)
* The Ghost of Captain Brand (1896)
* Washington (Text by
* Children\'s literature portal
* ^ McDonald, Edward D.; Edward M. Hinton (1942). Drexel Institute
of Technology 1891–1941. Haddon Craftsmen, Inc. pp. 126–130. ISBN
* ^ A B Crimmins, Peter (November 16, 2011). "
Pirates of pizazz:
* Coyle, Heather C. (2011). Howard Pyle: American Master
Rediscovered. Wilmington, DE: