Montag, 5. Oktober 2015

Arthur Ignatius Keller: Illustrations for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

Arthur Ignatius Keller was born July 4th, 1866. He was the son of Matilda and Adam Keller, a designer and engraver who recognized and encouraged his son’s artistic talent. Arthur’s father was his first teacher. By the age of seventeen, he began his formal training at the National Academy of Design in New York, studying under Professor Lemuel Wilmarth. In 1890 Keller traveled to Munich, Germany to study under Ludwig von Loeffiz. After two years of study he returned to the United States. His father had tried to persuade Arthur to remain in Europe to study in France, as the influence of impressionism was gaining in popularity. But Arthur did not wish to experiment with a genre that was so different from the classical styles that he was developing.

Arthur Ignatius Keller

Regarding Keller the artist, critic Walter Jack Duncan writes: “Keller, was a born artist. By instinct we recognize this at once. His simplest sketch, every stroke of his brush or pencil, is nervous with artistic energy. One feels it pulsating sturdily through all his multifarious work, through his graceful and sinuous drawings, his exquisite watercolors, his crowded and animated oils. His preliminary sketches especially, so fluent, natural, unaffected, flowing straight out of his facile pencil and confessing all it is possible to know of an artist’s talent, prove beyond question that here was a man who was an artist in the full meaning of the word; as the actors used to say, an artist to the fingertips.”

He did the illustrations for some collectible American books:  the first edition of The Virginian by Owen Wister (Macmillan, 1902),  The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (Bobbs-Merrill, 1906),  A Christmas Carol (David McKay, 1914) and the first US edition of The Valley of Fear by Conan Doyle (George H. Doran, 1914).

Katrina (Frontispiece)

 The Legend of  Sleepy Hollow found amomg the papers of the late Diedrich Knickerbocker.

 In the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the eastern shore of the Hudson, at that broad expansion of the river denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators theTappan Zee, and where they ahvays prudently shortened sail, and implored the protection of St. Nicholas when they crossed, there lies a small market-town or rural port, whichby some is called Greensburgh, but which is more generally and properly known by the name of Tarry Town. This name was given, we are told, in former days, by the good housewives of the adjacent country, from the inveterate propensity of their husbands to linger about the village tavern on market days.

 It is said by some to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper, whose head had been carried away by a cannon-ball, in some nameless battle during the revolutionary war;....

Certain it is the place still continues under the sway of some witching power, that holds a spell over the minds of the good people, causing them to walk in a continual reverie. They are
given to all kinds of marvelous beliefs; are subject to trances and visions ; and frequently see strange sights, and hear music and voices in the air.

 It is remarkable that the visionary propensity I have mentioned is not confined to the native inhabitants of the valley, but is unconsciously imbibed by every one who resides there for
a time.

 However wide awake they may have been before they entered that sleepy region, they are sure, in a little time, to inhale the witching influence of the air, and begin to grow imaginative — to dream dreams, and see apparitions.

 In this by-place of nature, there abode, in a remote period of American history, that is to say, some thirty years since, a worthy wight of the name of Ichabod Crane ; who sojourned,
or, as he expressed it, ''tarried," in Sleepy Hollow, for the purpose of instructing the children of the vicinity. He was a native of Connecticut; a State which supplies the Union with pioneers for the mind as well as for the forest, and sends forth yearly its legions of frontier woodsmen and country schoolmasters.

 His school-house was a low building of one large room, rudely constructed of logs; the windows partly glazed, and partly patched with leaves of old copy-books.

Truth to say, he was a conscientious man, and ever bore in mind the golden maxim, "Spare the rod and spoil the child."—Icliabod Crane's scholars certainly were not spoiled.

 He assisted the farmers occasionally in the lighter labors of their farms ; helped to make hay ; mended the fences ; took the horses to water; drove the cows from pasture...

...he would sit with a child on one knee, and rock a cradle with his foot for whole hours together...

 How he would figure among them in the church-yard, between services on Sundays! gather grapes for them from the wild vines that overrun the surrounding trees;...

No tale was too gross or monstrous for his capacious swallow. It was often his delight, after his school was dismissed in the afternoon, to stretch himself on the rich bed of clover, bordering the little brook that whimpered by his school-house, and there con over old Mather's direful tales, until the gathering dusk of evening made the printed page a mere mist before his eyes.

He completely carried away the palm from the parson

Another of his sources of fearful pleasure was to pass long winter evenings with the old Dutch wives, as they sat spinning by the fire,, with a row of apples roasting and spluttering
along the hearth, and listen to their marvelous tales of ghosts and goblins, and haunted fields, and haunted brooks, and haunted bridges, and haunted houses, and particularly of the headless horseman, or Galloping Hessian of the Hollow, as they sometimes called him.

He would delight them equally by his ancedotes on witchcraft

...and he would have passed a pleasant life of it, in despite of the Devil and all his works,
if his path had not been crossed by a being that causes more perplexity to mortal man than ghosts, goblins, and the whole race of witches put together, and that was—a woman.

Ichabod Crane had a soft and foolish heart towards the sex ; and it is not to be wondered at, that so tempting a morsel soon found favor in his eyes ; more especially after he had
visited her in her paternal mansion. Old Baltus Van Tassel was a perfect picture of a thriving, contented, liberal-hearted farmer.

Before the barn door strutted the gallant cock, that pattern of a husband, a warrior,
and a fine gentleman, clapping his burnished wings, and crowing in the pride and gladness of his heart—sometimes tearing up the earth with his feet, and then generously calling his ever-hungry family of wives and children to enjoy the rich morsel which he had discovered.

In his devouring mind's eye, he pictured to himself every roasting-pig running
about, with a pudding in his belly, and an apple in his mouth; the pigeons were snugly put to bed in a comfortable pie, and tucked in with a coverlet of crust; the geese were swimming in
their own gravy; and the ducks pairing cozily in dishes, like snug married couples, with a decent competency of onion sauce.

It was one of those spacious farmhouses, with high-ridged, but lowly-sloping roofs, built in the style handed down from the first Dutch settlers; the low projecting eaves forming a piazza along the front, capable of being closed up in bad weather.

From the moment Ichabod laid his eyes upon these regions of delight, the peace of his mind was at an end, and his only study was how to gain the affections of the peerless daughter of Van Tassel.

Brom Van Brunt, the hero of the country round, which rang with his feats of strength and hardihood. He was broad-shouldered and double-jointed, with short, curly black hair, and a bluff, but not unpleasant countenance, having a mingled air of fun and arrogance. From his Herculean  frame and great powers of limb, he had received the nickname of Brom Bones, by which he was universally known. He was famed for great knowledge and skill in horsemanship, being as dexterous on horseback as a Tartar.

...and the old dames, startled out of their sleep, would listen for a moment till the
hurry-scurry had clattered by, and then exclaim, 'Ay, there goes Brom Bones and his gang!"
Such was the formidable rival with whom Ichabod Crane had to contend, and, considering all things, a stouter man than he would have shrunk from the competition, and a wiser man would have despaired. 

...honest Bait would sit smoking his evening pipe at the other, watching the achievements
of a little wooden warrior, who, armed with a sword in each hand, was most valiantly fighting the wind on the pinnacle of the barn.
Ichabod would carry on his suit with the daughter by the side of the spring under the great elm.

And from the moment Ichabod Crane made his advances, the interests of the former evidently declined ; his horse was no longer seen tied at the palings on Sunday nights, and a deadly feud
gradually arose between him and the preceptor of Sleepy Hollow.
But what was still more annoying, Brom took all opportunities of turning him into ridicule in presence of his mistress, and had a scoundrel dog whom he taught to whine in the most ludicrous manner, and introduced as a rival of Ichabod's to instruct her in psalmody.

It was suddenly interrupted by the appearance of a negro, in tow-cloth jacket and trousers, a round-crowned fragment of a hat, like the cap of Mercury, and mounted on the back of a ragged, wild, half-broken colt, which he managed with a rope by way of halter. He came clattering up to the school door with an invitation to Ichabod to attend amerry-making, or "quilting-frolic," to be held that eveningat Mynheer Van Tassel's;...

...he borrowed a horse from the farmer with whom he was domiciliated, a choleric old Dutchman, of the name of Hans Van Ripper, and, thus gallantly mounted issued forth, like a knight-errant, in quest of adventures.

Ichabod was a suitable figure for such a steed. He rode with short stirrups, which brought his knees nearly up to the pommel of the saddle; his sharp elbows stuck out like grasshoppers; he carried his whip perpendicularly in his hand, like a sceptre, and, as his horse jogged on, the motion of his arms was not unlike the flapping of a pair of wings.

Streaming files of wild ducks began to make their appearance high in the air; the bark of the scjuirrel might be heard from the groves of  beech and hickory-nuts, and the pensive whistle of the quail at intervals from the neighboring stubble-field.

...and the twittering blackbirds flying in sable clouds ; and the golden-winged woodpecker, with his crimson crest, his broad black gorget, and splendid plumage; and the cedar bird, with its red-tipt wings and yellow-tipt tail, and the little monteiro cap of feathers ; and the blue-jay, that noisy coxcomb, in his gay light-blue coat and white underclothes; screaming and chattering, nodding and bobbing and bowing, and pretending to be on good terms with every songster of the grove.

...and as he beheld them, soft anticipations stole over his mind of dainty slap-jacks, well-buttered, and garnished with honey or treacle, by the delicate little dimpled hand of
Katrina Van Tassel.

The wide bosom of the Tappan Zee lay motionless and glassy...

Old farmers, a spare leathern-faced race, in homespun coats and breeches, blue stockings, huge shoes, and magnificent pewter buckles. Their brisk withered little dames, in close crimped caps, longwaisted short-gowns, homespun petticoats, with scissors and pin-cushions, and gay calico pockets hanging on the outside.

Such heaped-up platters of cakes of various and almost indescribable kinds, known only to experienced Dutch housewives! There was the doughty dough-nut, the tender oly koek, and the crisp and crumbling cruller; sweet cakes and short cakes, ginger cakes and honey cakes, and the whole family of cakes.

And now the sound of the music from the common room, or hall, summoned to the dance. The musician was an old grayheaded negro, who had been the itinerant orchestra of the
neighborhood for more than half a century.
He was the admiration of all the negroes ; who, having gathered, of all ages and sizes, from the farm and the neighborhood, stood forming a pyramid of shining black faces at every door and window, gazing with delight at the scene, rolling their white eye-balls, and showing grinning rows of ivory from ear to ear.

The lady of his heart was his partner in the dance.

Several of the Sleepy Hollow people were present at Van Tassel's, and, as usual, were doling out their wild and wonderful legends.

Some mention was made also of the woman in white, that haunted the dark glen at Raven Rock, and was often heard to shriek on winter nights before a storm, having perished there in the snow.

The sequestered situation of this church seems always to have made it a favorite haunt of troubled spirits. It stands on a knoll, surrounded by locust-trees and lofty elms, from among which its decent whitewashed walls shine modestly forth, like Christian purity beaming through the shades of retirement.

The tale was told of old Brouwer, a most heretical disbeliever in ghosts, how he met the horseman returning from his foray 'into Sleepy Hollow, and was obliged to get up behind him; how they galloped over bush and brake, over hill and swamp, until they reached the bridge ; when the horseman suddenly turned into a skeleton, threw old Brouwer into the brook, and sprang away over the tree-tops with a clap of thunder.

This story was immediately matched by a thrice marvelous adventure of Brom Bones, who made light of the Galloping Hessian as an arrant jockey. He affirmed that, on returning one night from the neighboring village of Sing-Sing, he had been overtaken by this midnight trooper ; that he had offered to race with him for a bowl of punch, and should have won it too, for Daredevil beat the goblin horse all hollow, but, just as they came to the church bridge, the Hessian bolted, and vanished in a flash of fire.
The old farmers gathered together their families in their wagons, and were heard
for some time rattling along the hollow roads, and over the distant hills.

Oh these women ! these women ! Could that girl have been playing off any of her coquettish tricks?—Was her encouragement of the poor pedagogue all a mere sham to secure her conquest of his rival ?—Heaven only knows, not I !—Let it suffice to say, Ichabod stole forth with the air of one who had been sacking a hen-roost, rather than a fair lady's heart.

Now and then, too, the long-drawn crowing of a cock, accidentally awakened, would sound far, far off, from some farmhouse away among the hills—but it was like a dreaming sound in his ear. No signs of life occurred near him, but occasionally the melancholy chirp of a cricket, or perhaps the guttural twang of a bull- frog from a neighboring marsh, as if sleeping uncomfortably, and turning suddenly in his bed.

As Ichabod approached this fearful tree, he began to whistle: he thought his whistle was answered—it was but a blast sweeping sharply through the dry branches. As he approached
a little nearer, he thought he saw something white, hanging in the midst of the tree—he paused and ceased whistling; but on looking more narrowly, perceived that it was a place where the tree had been scathed by lightning, and the white wood laid bare. Suddenly he heard a groan—his teeth chattered and his knees smote against the saddle... 

As he approached the stream his heart began to thump; he summoned up, however, all his resolution, gave his horse half a score of kicks in the ribs, and attempted to dash briskly across
the bridge; but instead of starting forward, the perverse old animal made a lateral movement, and ran broadside against the fence.
Just at this moment a plashy tramp by the side of the bridge caught the sensitive
ear of Ichabod. In the dark shadow of the grove, on the margin of the brook, he beheld something huge, misshapen, black and towering. It stirred not, but seemed gathered up in the gloom, like some gigantic monster ready to spring upon the traveler.
Ichabod, who had no relish for this strange midnight companion, and bethought himself of the adventure of Brom Bones with the Galloping Hessian, now quickened his steed, in hopes of leaving him behind. The stranger, however, quickened his horse to an equal pace.

Away then they dashed through thick and thin ; stones flying, and sparks flashing at every bound. Ichabod's flimsy garments fluttered in the air, as he stretched his long lank body away over his horse's head, in the eagerness of his flight. They had now reached the road which turns off to Sleepy Hollow...

Another convulsive kick in the ribs, and old Gunpowder sprang upon the bridge ; he thundered over the resounding planks...

He saw the goblin rising his stirrups, and in the very act of hurling his head at him. Ichabod endeavored to dodge the horrible missile, but too late. It encountered his craniumwith a tremendous crash—he was tumbled headlong into the dust, and Gunpowder, the black steed, and the goblin rider, passed by like a whirlwind.

The next morning the old horse was found without his saddle, and with the bridle under his feet, soberly cropping the grass at his master's gate.

The mysterious event caused much speculation at the church on the following Sunday. Knots of gazers and gossips were collected in the church-yard, at the bridge, and at the spot where the hat and pumpkin had been found.
Brom Bones, too, who shortly after his rival's disappearance conducted the
blooming Katrina in triumph to the altar,...

(Brom Bones) was observed to look exceedingly knowing whenever the story of Ichabod was related, and always burst into a hearty laugh at the mention of the pumpkin ; which led some to suspect that he knew more about the matter than he chose to tell.

 The story-teller, who was just putting a glass of wine to his lips, as a refreshment after his toils, paused for a moment, looked at his inquirer with an air of infinite deference, and,
lowering the glass slowly to the table, observed, that the story was intended most logically to prove :...

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