Monday, January 9, 2017

Book About Henry Patrick Raleigh

Henry Patrick Raleigh (1880-1944) was one of those illustrators who both captured and helped to define glamorous aspects of 1920s and early 1930s America.

David Apatoff's take on Raleigh's style is well worth reading. And here is a web site devoted to Raleigh.

His son Christopher did a book on Raleigh a few years ago and provided the text for a new book about the man and his art by Auad Publishing Company (web site here). This book can be ordered via that site or, for those who prefer to use Amazon, the link to it is here.

Christopher Raleigh's account is both interesting and useful. The quality of the reproductions, especially those in color, is uneven. That might have been due the need to scan publications printed 90 or so years ago when printing quality was not nearly as good as now and where the paper the illustrations were printed on has suffered from age. Some or even many of the reproductions might have come from original works in Christopher Raleigh's collection. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to identify reproduction sources other than those from scans of advertisements. Identification of dates and publications of illustrations is sketchy: one "unknown" illustration is shown in a photo of an assemblage of Saturday Evening Post pages on the final page of the book, another's date is fairly clearly seen by Raleigh's signature).  However, most readers can estimate approximate dates by the depicted women's fashions, and few readers would be familiar with the stories and situations Raleigh was illustrating, so precise identification isn't very important in most cases.

Quibbles aside, the book's value lies in the biographical information and, especially, the many wonderful illustrations Henry Raleigh made during his heyday. It's well worth its price.

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