Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy Holidays

Howard Pyle, "How The Buccaneers Kept Christmas", Haper's Weekly, December 16th, 1899.
Originally in color.

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Saturday, December 1, 2007

"The Fate Of A Treasure Town" available on Google Books

Howard Pyle's short story The Fate Of A Treasure Town is now available for viewing and download at Google Books. The story and a number others are part of a public domain book called Adventures Of Pirates and Sea Rovers. Unfortunately, I don't think this book has the illustrations set up the same way they appeared when the story was originally published in Harpers Monthly Magazine. Follow this link to the book:

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Marooned, by Howard Pyle

Here is another important painting by Howard Pyle. It is quite large (40 in. x 60 in.). Like many works by Pyle, it resides in the collection of the Delaware Art Museum. There is a good writeup on their website.

The oil painting was finished in 1909 and was never published; however, the painting is based on an image done by Pyle for Buccaneers And Marooners of the Spainish Main, which appeared in Harper's New Monthly Magazine in September of 1887. This is the image (from Wikimedia Commons).

Click here for even more info.

Some information in this post was gathered from:
Menges, Jeff A. ed. Pirates, Patriots, and Princesses: The Art of Howard Pyle. 2006: Dover Publications.

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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Excerpt's from Howard Pyle's "The Fate of a Treasure Town"

I wish I could find this story. I'm not sure if it is published in any books. It should be made available for free since it is in the public domain and the images that accompany it are part of our perception of pirates. In fact, they are some of the most widely used images of pirates. These excerpts come fome here. The images were not taken from that site.

An Attack on a Galleon.

Pyle wrote: "Perhaps one of the convoys lags from the rest of the fleet. There comes skimming out from behind the fringed headland a lean, low pinnace full of half-naked cutthroats–white, black, and yellow. It swoops down upon the derelict galleon like the kestrel upon the wild goose...."


"A lonely island; a long strip of coral sand with combing breakers bursting upon it; a shining mass of treasure poured out upon a sail-cloth spread upon a beach; a circle of hungry-eyed, wolfish, unshaven, partly clad figures gathered about in the sunlight; the pirate chief standing over the booty—counting, adding, subtracting, parcelling.

"So the treasure was divided...."


Extorting Tribune from the Citizens.

"So the [pirates] returned to [Cartagena], which now lay entirely at their mercy without even the dim shadow of . . . authority as a protection. What followed need not be written in full; what they did may better be imagined than told. It is not said how long they remained, but it was long enough to hunt every odd corner for remnants of treasure that had been left behind. In the end, hearing further news of the approach of the Dutch and English fleet, they demanded a payment of 5,000,000 livres as the price of their departure without burning the town—and, incredible as it may sound, they got their price."


The Buccaneer was a Picturesque Fellow.

"The buccaneer was a picturesque fellow when you regard him from this long distance away. He belonged to no country and recognized no kith or kin of human nationality. He spent his money like a prince, and was very well satisfied to live rapidly, even if in so doing his death should come upon him with equal celerity. He clothed himself in a picturesque medley of rags, tatters, and finery. He loved gold and silver ornaments—ear-rings, finger-rings, bracelets, chains,—and he ornamented himself profusely with such gewgaws. He affected a great deal of finery of a sort—a tattered shirt or even a bare skin mattered not very much to him provided he was able to hide his semi-nakedness beneath some such finery as a velvet cloak or a sash of scarlet silk; patched breeches were not regarded when he had a fine leather belt with a silver buckle and a good sword hanging to it. And always there were a long-barrelled pistol or two and a good handy knife stuck in a waist-belt with which to command respect.

"Such was the buccaneer of the seventeeth century."

This story originally appeared in Harper's Monthly, December 1905

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