23
23
William Wallace Denslow
"SOON THEY ROLLED THE LION OUT OF THE POPPY BED TO THE GREEN FIELDS"
Estimate
70,000100,000
JUMP TO LOT
23
William Wallace Denslow
"SOON THEY ROLLED THE LION OUT OF THE POPPY BED TO THE GREEN FIELDS"
Estimate
70,000100,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Icons of Children’s Illustration

|
New York

William Wallace Denslow
"SOON THEY ROLLED THE LION OUT OF THE POPPY BED TO THE GREEN FIELDS"
signed 'Den' with artist's sea horse emblem
ink drawing
14 1/2 x 12 1/2 inches
(368 x  317 mm)
Executed circa 1900.
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Catalogue Note

A wonderful original drawing from Baum’s first Oz story showing the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow saving the Cowardly Lion from the deadly poppy field with the help of the Queen of the Field Mice and her little followers. This design comprises the full illustration on the right-hand page (recto) of the opened book, and shows the Woodman and the Scarecrow pushing a cart in which lays the sleeping Cowardly Lion, in front can be seen three mice pulling the cart; in the printed book the image continues on the facing page, revealing dozens of additional mice pulling the cart, under the watchful eye of their crowned Queen [this companion drawing is now in the permanent collection of the New York Public Library]. The 3 figures in our drawing (plus the Scarecrow’s hat laying in the lower right) are printed in black in the book, while the landscape around them is printed in green. It is an unexpectedly large design, much bigger than the printed version.

Michael Patrick Hearn notes in The Annotated Wizard of Oz (p185) that this episode was changed in the 1902 musical adaptation of the book: the Good Witch creates a snowstorm which breaks the spell of the poppy field, allowing the characters to escape – and that this feature is the only original element from the musical that was then incorporated into the great 1939 MGM film. No doubt training hundreds of mice to pull a cart was too great a challenge.

Denlow first collaborated with Baum by contributing two illustrations to the author’s privately printed collection of verse, By The Candelabra’s Glare (1898). When Baum decided to expand some of these poems into a children’s book, he turned to Denslow, and together they created Father Goose His Book (published by George Hill, 1899). Excellent sales led immediately to a 2nd book, a “modernized fairy tale”, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900). Its great success produced a third collaboration, Dot and Tot of Merryland (1901), but also to personal frictions, in part over who deserved the credit for their Oz triumph. These problems came to the fore with the musical adaptation of the Wizard”, in which Denslow was largely uninvolved (though he profited handsomely from the production). Their partnership soon ended, and though Baum would publish 13 more Oz books (illustrated by John R Neill), the “Wizard” would be the only one illustrated by Denslow.

“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” is considered by many to be the first great American children’s book, one of those rare cases in which the text and pictures combine in perfect harmony. Denslow’s original art for this work is exceedingly rare in the marketplace – even Justin Schiller did not have one in his landmark collection of Oz (passionately collected for over 25 years, and sold at Swann in 1978).

A marvelous drawing of these three beloved Oz characters.

Icons of Children’s Illustration

|
New York