Wednesday, September 17, 2014

William Aylward, Illustrator of Nautical Scenes

William James Aylward (1875-1956) came from a Great Lakes shipping family, was a student of Howard Pyle, and usually illustrated stories with nautical themes.

Biographical information about Aylward is skimpy. Two sources are here and here. The Kelly Collection site deals with him here.

Having been accepted by Pyle as a student signifies Aylward's potential as an illustrator, which was fulfilled in most cases. I do include one poorly-done example below from late in his career.

Some of the titles of the illustrations shown below are truncated. Those lacking capital letters are conjectural titles.


Coming to America

Contrasts - 1905

future airships? - McClure's Magazine - 1905

storm scene - Harper's - 1909

Surrender of the Guerriere - Harper's - March, 1912

Perry Transferes His Flag - 1913

Mystic, Connecticut - 1916

battleship - c. 1943
This looks like a North Carolina class battleship, though a number of things seems "off" to me. For instance, the ship is too foreshortened for the viewing angle. The North Carolina and Washington had long bows, so it's possible that Aylward used some artistic license to better fit the ship into a compositional scheme. In any case, the top of the hull is too low at the front (there's much more of an upwards curve on the actual ships) and the main turrets are more distant from the prow than is shown here. The foremast structure and, indeed, all the superstructure elements shown are seemingly too high and definitely too large compared to the main turrets. The problem here is that the perspective is a mess. The anti-aircraft guns mounted high on the superstructure appeared late in the war on the North Carolina, but by that time the foremast was much more cluttered than pictured here in its 1941state. I really have no idea why an artist as experienced as Aylward would let all this happen.

SS America Bringing Troops Home - c. 1945

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