Saturday, November 22, 2008

Frank Godwin and Prince Ahmed

A while ago I wrote about this Frank Godwin painting. I just got an email from a Frank Godwin collector that tells me it was published in a1921 edition of The Blue Fairy Book for "The Story of Prince Ahmed and the Fairy Paribanou." The caption is, "He came to some steep craggy rocks, which were bounds to his journey and were situated in a barren country."

He also mentioned that the colors in the book are a bit different than what is seen here, pointing out the white at the top was more of a purple.

PDF of the book here.

Thank you, Mr. Sawyer, for taking the time to write in!

22 comments:

susan said...

I have the 1921 edition of the blue fairy book and note that the colors on the picture in the story of prince ahmed are, indeed, different.
Am curious as to your interest in this particular work.
Thanks!
susan godwin

Irene Gallo said...

Susan, are you a relative!?

I saw the painting at San Diego ComicCon and fell in love with it.

norm said...

I might be going off on a tangent here...but I've always been a huge fan of Godwin's work and I wonder why there's never been a book on him.
I asked John Fleskes once (he's a friend of a friend...so I bugged him about this)and he thought there might not be enough of a market for it.
Having Godwin fly under the radar is fine when it means I can buy Rusty Riley dailies for a good price...but not if it means there won't ever be a book on him.
Since you're in publishing (and fairly tight with the Fenners, I assume)I was wondering if you had a take on the possibility of a Godwin book some day.
I guess I could ask Bunny (Alice) Carter too...but I was actually closer to her dad...and she scares me a bit...(just joking....kind of....)

susan said...

Irene asked if I am related to Frank Godwin. I am one of his grandchildren. The copy of the Blue Fairy Book I have, has a handwritten inscription to Master Harry Post Godwin (my father) from Uncle Sherley; 1922. Under that is another inscription that says: And now for Kitty, until Master Harry has his own little girl. I have such fond memories of reading it for many years! I also inherited some of his other art work; some personal Christmas cards he created for my family, some black and white etchings, and, I believe, some Rusty Riley strips. We took some family vacations to visit him and Brownie in their Buck's County home. My Dad has passed over two years ago, but I fondly recall his stories of Fran!
I am touched by the interest you all have shown in his work!
Thank you!
Susan

susan said...

Recently I was sorting through "memorabilia" to send to my Aunt Nancy; Frank's youngest daughter. I came across an old Rusty Riley strip as well as one from Toil of the Brave! There is also an etching of Rusty on Big Blaze, his dog Flip, and Patty Miles. And then, I came across four colored prints, or, originals, (obviously, I'm not an art student!) that are not in my 1921 edition; but they seem to match the stories of the Princess on the Glass Hill, Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp, and, the other two, I'm not sure of; perhaps, Cinderella and The Forty Thieves? Since there is an appreciation of his work, it should probably be somewhere other than in my metal filing case!
Any suggestions?
Susan

Thomas Ward said...

Susan, would you please contact me at frank.godwin.artwork@gmail.com I am a collector of your grandfather's work and I am planning on putting up a Frank Godwin blog. Thanks!

Thomas

Tom Sawyer said...

I thought I would throw in a couple of comments on things mentioned by Susan Godwin.

Frank Godwin did a lot of fairy-tale pictures, or similar pictures (as for nursery rhymes and the Arabian Nights), completely apart from those that appeared in The Blue Fairy Book. (I believe that a number of them were originally done for the Philadelphia Public Ledger.) For example, he did illustrations for Jack the Giant Killer, Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp, and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves -- all different from the ones in The Blue Fairy Book.

The item called Toil of the Brave is presumably from Godwin's serialization of that novel. That is, he produced 30 installments of illustrations (three pictures per installment) for a condensation of the novel. The serialization was distributed by King Features Syndicate. Toil of the Brave (the Godwin version) was published I believe in 1947, and as far as I can tell it is quite scarce. Apart from Toil of the Brave, Godwin did at least three others (of the KFS serializations of novels). Toil of the Brave was written by Inglis Fletcher, and it was described as a "best-selling novel of love and daring in Revolutionary America."

The art as published was fabulous, and I have kind of thought that Godwin's works for the novel serializations might have been a factor in King Features Syndicate deciding to syndicate Rusty Riley, which began in early 1948.

susan said...

Thanks for that latest information from Tom Sawyer on some of his other work! I know only a little about his work; only that I have large envelopes of things handed down to me from my Dad! What I do remember, is his love for the giant train set he built! I have a picture of him working on a very large engine?; over a foot tall! It was a fascinating train set and seeing it go around the track he built was exciting!
Susan

Tom Sawyer said...

Susan, there's a picture of him with one of his large-scale train models in the Bucks County Traveler for August 1956. The caption says, in part: "Nearly finished is the huge, fourteen-foot, working model of a modern locomotive and tender, painstakingly built by famous Solebury artist Frank Godwin."

Overall, it has always been kind of difficult to find out much about Frank Godwin, and some of what has been published about him and his works has been inaccurate.

I love this statement by him, published in 1926: "I haven't grown up myself and I don't intend to."

I have done a moderate amount of work on a possible future website about Frank Godwin. My daughter designed a cool "heading" for it using a portrait of Godwin from one of the Dutch Treat Club yearbooks.

I am glad to see that Tom Ward plans a Godwin blog -- it should be interesting!

AJimNDal said...

Susan,

I have a Christmas card custom made by your grandfather to my family in 1954. I don't know why or how my dad knew your grandfather, but we went to visit him at the farm in Bucks County one time. I recall that your grandmother raised dachshunds and your grandfather raised poodles. When we were there his poodle had just given birth. As a kid of 9, I feel in love with one of them. He told us to come back in a month, when they had been weened, I could have her. She was a cream color with brownish blotchy tips to some of her hair. Almost like she had brushed up against something rusty. Needless to say we named her Rusty, both for the color and after the comic strip. Unfortunately she and a car did not agree about a year later. Broke my heart. Anyway, just wanted to share about your grandfather. Write if you want.

Jim McClintock

susan said...

To AJimNDAL
Thanks for sharing that story! Don't know how old you are, but I am two months shy of 61. I remember taking a few family vacations to their home.
We traveled from Milwaukee, Wisc. to visit. I don't remember a lot, but was fascinated with his train set!
I remember his old brown-paneled station wagon! For years, he sent those kinds of cards to our family and my Dad, always displayed then on a large, red velvet ribbon! Each card had caricatures of his family and dogs!Seemed like the last card we received from him, was one of only himself; merrily waving, as if to say good bye!
I was about the same age as you, when we lost our first dog, Duchess, and, can still remember the heartache!
That woman you remember was not my Grandmother, but, I believe, his second or third wife. Her name was Brownie. The wife he had the four children by, was Grace.
Does make you wonder what their connection was, that he thought enough of your family to send the card!
I am touched by the interest shown for him in reading these "blogs" and, have begun more research on him!
Thanks again, for sharing your memories! And, am curious as to what else you remember about your visit! I'm guessing it's about how much that dog, Rusty, meant to you!

Tom Sawyer said...

Since Frank Godwin's Christmas cards seems to be a continuing theme, I thought I would briefly describe a few that are in my collection. The cards were obviously designed by Godwin, but they were not "custom" or "original" in the sense of being original art. They are all printed.

The 1952 one says "Merry Christmas from Georgiana and Frank Godwin," and it has caricatures of those two. It shows Rusty and his dog Flip, and Rusty says, "And from me, Rusty Riley!"

Godwin's spouse's name was Georgiana Brown Harbeson, and the "Brownie" nickname must have come from her middle name.

Godwin's first wife was Grace Congleton, who later became a Greenwich Village personality, and proprietress of Grace's Garret. (He was later married to a woman named Sylvia.)

The Christmas card from 1955 has "realistic" drawings of Georgiana and Frank, and no reference to the comic strip.

The 1957 one looks like a comic strip and is headed "Rusty Riley . . . Christmas, 1957." On the front, Rusty puzzles over what to do for a Christmas card for the use of "the boss," and then he comes up with a "swell original idea!" The inside shows Rusty holding a big sheet of paper with a Christmas and New Year greeting, and the sheet has little cartoon-like portrayals of Georgiana, Frank, and Rusty.

I imagine that many readers of this blog are aware of Godwin's comic strip Connie, which had a lot of science fiction in it (time travel, space travel, and so on).

Godwin was known as a hard worker. I have a letter he sent to a Mr. Wilkerson (probably in the early 1950s), where he says (regarding Rusty Riley) that "the actual strips and Sunday page take about ten hours a day."

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