Feb 13 2012: Altered Rhoda Campbell Chase Illustrations from Told By The Sandman by Abbie Phillips Walker (Harper & Brothers, 1916)

All but two of the images in this gallery are the work of Rhoda Campbell Chase, an American illustrator whose pictures are visible online, and whose publications appear in many lists of books for sale, but whose details seem to be unavailable. At any rate, she seems to have been active in the early years of the twentieth century, working in a style derived from (and perhaps midway between) Kate Greenaway and Edmund Dulac. The header drawings here come from a book by Abbie Phillips Walker, Told By The Sandman: Stories for Bedtime, as published by Harper and Brothers in 1916, each picking up on the broad style of the story that follows it to create a representative image. What makes these more compelling than average, though, is the fact that at some point a child has coloured in or retouched many of the drawings in coloured pencil and crayon, perhaps as an oblique act of criticism. That said, it’s hard to know what the impulse might reveal: do the most elaborately finished interventions reflect a greater engagement with the stories, or the reverse – a tendency to colour-in mostly when bored by the actual text? It’s impossible to be sure. In two cases here, the images are entirely the work of the child: these are crayon drawings on the book’s flyleaves, with an abstract flavour.

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