Three Illustrators of "The Snow-Image: A Childish Miracle"

By Idol, John L., Jr. | Nathaniel Hawthorne Review, Spring 2010 | Go to article overview

Three Illustrators of "The Snow-Image: A Childish Miracle"


Idol, John L., Jr., Nathaniel Hawthorne Review


Adding a P.S. to a letter to James Fields (14 November 1863), Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote:

   James G. Gregory of New York, art publisher, has written to me
   asking permission to publish the Snow-Image as a picture book, with
   colored illustrations. I should very much like to see it in that
   shape. Is there any objection on the score of copyright? And ought
   I ask anything (and what) for liberty to publish? 18: 615)

Though details of the arrangement to publish are unknown, an illustrated edition of The Snow-Image: A Childish Miracle appeared in 1864 under the James G. Gregory imprint. (1) It was a handsomely bound book, in either a dark green or crimson board binding with gilt lettering. He illustrator chosen to do drawings was Marcus Waterman.

A native of Providence, Rhode Island, and a graduate of Brown University, where he was not an art student, Waterman moved to New York City to begin painting and continued living there until relocating to Boston in 1874. He traveled widely, preferring exotic or desolate places, from which he drew inspiration as subjects for his paintings. His locales varied from rural Vermont to Cape Cod, from Europe to Northern Africa. He may have received informal instruction in painting during his travels in California from Thomas Hill and William Morris Hunt. He eventually settled in Italy, dying in Moderno in 1914, at the age of 80. He worked in both oils and watercolors and was a member of the American Watercolor Society. (2)

For "The Snow-Image" he drew five illustrations plus a decoration for the title-page. The first illustration (figure 1) serves as the frontispiece and depicts Violet and Peony, wrapped in winter gear, working on the snow maiden, Violet doing the shaping while Peony brings her a shovel of snow. True to Hawthorne's description of Peony, the lad's chilled cheeks show traces of crimson. Waterman's Violet seems perfectly capable of delicate touches as she performs her artistry.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

He title-page decoration catches up Hawthorne's interest in snowbirds (figure 2). But here Waterman's attention turns from the story itself to nature, always a favorite subject in his art. These birds will, however, be granted freedom to flit around the snow maiden in later scenes. And, as subjects for art, they will be prominently featured in the drawings of the other two illustrators discussed in this paper, Frederick Stuart Church and Sarah S. Stilwell-Weber.

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

Waterman executed four full-page illustrations for the text, the first treating the children as they prepare to hurl snowballs at each other. Responding again to Hawthorne's emphasis on the frigid weather, Waterman tipped his brush in red to give a blush to the children's faces (figure 3).

[FIGURE 3 OMITTED]

He second illustration (figure 4) renders Hawthorne's narration of the playful chase around the garden as the snow maiden comes to life and romps with Peony and Violet in the swirling snow. Here snow-birds flit above them or perch on leafless branches of a nearby tree. He chilly hands of the snow maiden grasp hold of Violet and Peony.

[FIGURE 4 OMITTED]

The third illustration (figure 5) depicts the arrival of Mr. Lindsey, heavily wrapped to protect himself from the cold. As snow-birds rest on her shoulders or flit above her, he looks upon the snow maiden, whose hair, catching up something of the gold in the wintry sunset, has a faint tint of gold, another of the touches revealing Waterman's close reading of the text. Sensibly dressed Mr. Lindsey seems altogether ready to rescue and warm the snow maiden.

[FIGURE 5 OMITTED]

For his final illustration, Waterman assembled all of the story's characters, placing them at the entrance to the Lindsey home (figure 6). The children warn him to leave her outside, their mother stands positioned to retard her husband's insistent move towards warmth and identification, and the poor snow maiden, drooping and downcast in expression, seems to sense her untimely end. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Three Illustrators of "The Snow-Image: A Childish Miracle"
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.