Another of my favorites is Florence Scovel Shinn, 1871-1940. She obviously didn't feel compelled to scratch away with her pen in homage to Gibson. She, too, will reappear in these postings at a later date. She became famous in a later career as a motivational writer and speaker.
She was one of four wives of the notorious Ashcan School painter Everett Shinn 1876-1953.
I've added color tint blocks to the illustrations.
Portrait of a Russian peasant. from Through the Caucasus. written by Ralph Meeker.
As competent as these drawings are, Frank Millet was every bit as good a writer as he was an illustrator. In fact, he wrote articles and stories which he did not illustrate. There were other times when his illustrations appeared in stories written by others. The portraits are a case in point. Obviously, Millet had travelled to the Caucasus but whether it was in the company of the writer is not known. A search on the Internet for Ralph Meeker will only turn up links to the well-known actor of Hollywod films and the Broadway stage.
The Cornell Library online has the articles by Meeker in two parts that appeared in the April and the May 1887 issue of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine.
Portrait of a Russian Jew.
As Henry James has written of Frank Millet,
“. . . . he sent striking sketches from the East, as well as capital prose to the journals I have mentioned. He has always been as capable of writing a text for his own sketches as of making sketches for the text of others. He has made pictures without words and words without pictures. He has written some very clever ghost stories, and drawn and painted some very recognizable realities. [Millet exhibited paintings at the Royal Academy exhibition of 1888 in London.] . . . .
Millet's 1877 portrait of author Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain). Clara Clemens Gabrilowitsch donated the portrait to the Hannibal, Missouri Free Public Library. Photo courtesy of Dave Thomson.
“He knows the art schools of the Continent, the studios of Paris, the ‘dodges’ of Antwerp [we can only guess what that means], the subjects, the models of Venice, and has had much aesthetic as well as much personal experience.
Portrait of a young Circassian woman.
Portrait of a Circassian.
“He has draped and distributed Greek plays at Harvard, as well as ridden over the Balkans to post pressing letters, and invented English villages [Broadway, one can assume from the title of the article] where susceptible Americans may get the strongest sensations with the least trouble to themselves. . . .”
“Springing from a very old New England stock, he has found the practice of art a wonderful antidote, in his own language, ‘for belated Puritanism.’ He is very modern, in the sense of having tried many things and availed himself of all of the facilities of his time . . . . he is a striking example of what the typical American quality can achieve. . . .”
A bit jingoistic, and predictably said for an American popular press. However flowery, it was appropriate for the time when it was common for a dozen words to do the work of two or three.
Millet's home was in the town of East Bridgewater, Massachusetts, a village not historically significant since 1676 when Capt. Benjamin Church and its plucky citizenry drove the marauding Metacom (King Philip) out from the town to be eventually captured and slain to end the bloodiest war in colonial history.
Frank Millet's life ended abruptly on 15 April 1912 as a first-class passenger on Titanic when it struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic enroute home to the United States. His body was recovered and logged as No. 249, male, estimated age 65, hair-grey. His remains are buried at East Bridgewater Central Cemetery.
We are indebted to Encyclopedia Titanica (www.encyclopedia-titanica.org) for this information and that which follows.
In a letter to a friend, posted at Queenstown (now Cobh) Ireland, he described his fellow passengers in the same manner he reported skirmishes in a war:
"Queer lot of people on the ship. There are a number of obnoxious, ostentatious American women, the scourge of any place they infest and worse on shipboard than anywhere."
"Many of them carry tiny dogs, and lead husbands around like pet lambs."
However, he was last seen on deck giving up his life preserver to women passengers.
In Ambush is the title of this page illustration (click on image to enlarge) from Campaigning with the Cossacks that appeared in the January 1887 issue of Harper's New Monthly Magazine. The drawing was from an adventure that had taken place ten years earlier when Millet joined Cossacks fighting Turks in the last Russian-Turkish War.
In the second article which appeared in the February 1887 issue of the magazine, Millet illustrates the capture of a plump and reluctant Turkish officer. Click on image to enlarge.
This drawing (click on image to enlarge) appeared in the January issue entitled A Mortal wound.
Click on image to enlarge this final drawing on the last page of Campaigning with the Cossacks-II.
Cossacks raiding a Turkish village. The illustration shows Cossacks using their lances to search for Turks hidden in their dwellings.
These illustrations are from Millet's illustrated article entitled: Campaigning with the Cossacks: I. A Summer Campaign, that was published in Harper's Monthly Magazine for January 1887. Millet begins his narrative with:
"A close acquaintance with the Cossacks lasting for nearly a year, the friendship of many of their officers which a lapse of nearly tn years has scarcely weakened, an intimate knowledge of their peculiarities of temperament, character, and modes of life, all had their origin in a little incident at the beginning of the Turkish War. . . .
"During one of the frequent duels of artillery and infantry between the hostile entrenchments on opposite sides of the lower Danube in the month of June, 1877, curiosity and a mild love of adventure tempted me into an isolated, detached post, where my only companions for the whole day were a major of Cossacks and two of his men. . . ." And the extraordinary tale goes on. For more about Cossacks, click on this link, which contains their music as well.
An enlarged view of Millet's great draftsmanship. I doubt if he had a camera along with him in 1877. The figures are stiff enough to suggest a photographic source but my guess would be that he drew the horsemen individually and then worked the sketches into the finished drawing.
Click on image to enlarge. Millet: "One fat Turkish officer on a pony much too feeble to carry the weight on his back made frantic endeavors to escape, and one of the major's orderlies started in sharp pursuit. . . but instead of drawing his carbine he swung his lariat around his head in true Mexican style, lassoed the Turk, and dismounted him. The pony was left for me to catch. . . ."
In direct contrast to Frank Millet's spirited drawings as a war artist and writer, the following four illustrations are examples of Millet as travel writer and illustrator. The articles appeared in Harper's New Monthly Magazine for April, May and June of 1885 in articles entitled A Wild Goose Chase I, II, and III. I have only been able to access links to the April and June issues at Cornell's online library where you may view the entire articles with corresponding illustrations.
Skagen Fisher-Girls was published in the May issue that dealt with Millet's travels in Denmark. (For some unknown reason it doesn't appear in the May issue of Cornell's collection, though my copy is imprinted Vol. LXX-No. 420 and the April issue Vol. LXX-No. 419. These volume numbers may help you track down the May article somewhere, should you be that interested.)
Flower Girls of Vierlande from the third instalment in the June issue is not any more lively than the fisher-girls. It's typical of the genre painting of the time and Millet seems as capable as any of his peers but just as lukewarm about his subjects. The production process of the time required that these drawings be adapted for printing by an engraver who prevented the printed work from being an actual reproduction made directly from the illustration. I suspect that engravers were better at engraving than they were at drawing. Certainly the faces in fisher-girls are just this side of awful, the faces above better but not recognizable as Millet's drawing style.
In this case we have a reproduction from a pen-and-ink drawing by Millet (also in the June issue) with no intervention by an engraver. Millet's craftsmanship is evident and his attention to detail considerable but the pose is boring and the drawing without any tension created by blacks and whites playing off each other.
An enlargement from Friendly Call Personally, I think Millet was bored with the assignment. I feel he would much rather be covering a battle in an alien and exotic land.
Click on image to enlarge this pen drawing entitled A Rope-walk which depicts a Vierlande maid crafting rope in the traditional way. It's one of the most interesting of Millet's illustrations in the series of articles but it could also be described as a dull pose.
Portrait of Frank Millet by his contemporary, author and illustrator George Du Maurier, from Harper's New Monthly Magazine for June 1889.
Francis Davis (Frank) Millet was born in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, on 3 November 1846 and died by drowning on board the Titanic, when it sank after hitting an iceberg in the North Atlantic, on 15 April 1912. He served as a drummer boy, and later as assistant to his surgeon father, in the American Civil War. He was a brilliant student at Harvard, later a reporter and city editor for a Boston newspaper. He then decided to devote himself to art and enrolled at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium, where he won silver and gold medals for his work.
Millet couldn't resist the adventure of covering the Russian-Turkish war for the American and British press. He was decorated by the Russian and Rumanian governments for his bravery under fire and for treating the battlefield wounded. Eventually his illustrated accounts were published by Harper's New Monthly Magzine.
Herewith, in the same publication, are comments about Millet by the distinguished author and expatriate, Henry James (1843-1916):
"It is characteristic of Mr. Frank Millet's career, with opposites so much mingled in it, that such work as he has done for these pages should have had as little in common as possible with midland English scenery. [James had written 'Our Artists in Europe' in which he described the picturesque village of Broadway where Millet had taken a cottage.] . . . There was a time when he drew little else but Cossacks and Orientals, and drew them as one who had good cause to be vivid.
Cossack Types. Individual sketches probably drawn from life. Click on image to enlarge.
Of the young generation he was the first to know the Russian plastically, especially the Russian soldier, and he had paid heavily for his acquaintance. During the Russo-Turkish war he was correspondent in the field (with the victors) of the New York Herald and the London Daily News– a capacity in which he made many out-of-the-way, many precious, observations. . . ."