Little Peachling by Georgene Faulkner, illustrated by Frederick Richardson
This post is dedicated to Frederick Richardson (1862-1937), very versatile American illustrator, who worked for newspapers, magazines and book publishers, but we can’t neglect another person from Chicago. Richardson worked for such big names as Andrew Lang and Frank Baum, but in my opinion we have to give at least the same amount of credits to his cooperation with Georgene Faulkner.
Georgene Faulkner (1873-1958) was kindergarten teacher, writer and especially storyteller, who had her own radio shows and was known as The Story Lady. Little Peachling is only one of her numerous projects from the field of world folklore. She explored Russian, English, Indian, Italian and in this particular case Japanese fairy tales. She tried to introduce different cultures to her audience what is not so simple as somebody may believe. Her (American) young audience should understand stories from other worlds and times, so she had to use adapted vocabulary and certain simplifications, but still preserve the essence of the stories. This kind of project definitely demanded healthy amount of adaptability and proper illustrations can be of great help.
Well, Frederick Richardson was without doubt the right illustrator to do the job. Experts, who like to put everybody in right compartments classify him as a member of Art Nouveau movement what is clearly visible in all black and white drawings in the book Little Peachling and Other Tales from Old Japan, but he also liked to experiment and show how much he knows (he was an art teacher for seven years after all, so certain amount of showiness is acceptable and understandable). He even parodied van Gogh and Gaugin! Illustrating so diverse works as Andersen’s Fairy Tales, Aesop’s Fables, Norway Folktales, Collodi’s Pinocchio and numerous schoolbooks, variation of the style was probably expected too.
Little Peachling gave Richardson a chance to experiment with Japanese style and we can see results right here.
Let’s check the stories one by one.
The Two Frogs
The Wonderful Tea-Kettle
The Mirror of Matsuyama
The Prince of the Reed Plains
The Boastful Bamboo Tree
The Tongue-Cut Sparrow
The Wonderful Waterfall
That’s it. I hope you enjoyed the trip in the land of Japanese imagination. I am sure Frederick Richardson’s skills helped a lot!
Frederick Richardson is an illustrator who deserves to be remembered.