Results 2 to 2 of 6
Firstprevious123456NextLast
Change view: View multiple images at a timeView text onlyView text only

Sketchbook and Five Assorted Loose Drawings on Cardstock

ca. 1920
Origin: America, Michigan, Mason County
Booklet (closed) overall: 4 9/16" x 5 7/8" x 1/8" thick. See "Description" for dimensions of individual loose drawings.
Graphite and colored pencils on wove paper, bound in a small sketchbook, along with loose drawings rendered on cardstock.
Museum Purchase, Dr. and Mrs. T. Marshall Hahn, Jr. Fund
Acc. No. 2003.301.1,1-6
The sketchbook per se is a small, horizontal format booklet whose cardboard covers are overlaid with pale green cloth; two staples hold the pages within the covers. It now contains 34 pages (counting fronts and backsides of sheets as two pages), most of which are blank, and some of which are detached. The first, last, and next-to-last pages of the sketchbook was cut out prior to receipt and are missing.
The first attached page shows a robin perched on a branch, the image set within three concentric circles drawn in black ink. The pictorial image is rendered in graphite except for reddish-brown penciling that colors the bird's breast. Below the circle in graphite is written, "Where is that worm". In the lower right corner of the page is written in graphite, "S. W. Harley". The backside of this page is bare, except that the number "8" within a small circle appears in ballpoint pen in the upper left corner.
The next page has been torn from its binding, but corresponding tear lines (along the left side of the drawing and the right side of the still-bound fragment) clearly indicate where this page originally fell within the overall sequence. The drawing on the page, done entirely in graphite, shows two birds of prey (hawks?) perched on a branch, with one or two small buildings in the distance and visible beneath the branch. The pictorial image is set within two concentric circles drawn in black ink. Beneath the circle in graphite are the words, "Methodist Birds who prey on [blank]". In the lower right corner in graphite is "By S. W. Harley". The backside of the page is blank except for the number "7" within a small circle in ballpoint pen in the upper left corner.
The next page "reads" with the sketchbook held vertically, rather than horizontally. The pictorial image, done entirely in graphite, shows a deer sniffing a gun that is leaning against a tree, the whole set within two concentric circles drawn in black ink. Beneath the circles in graphite is written in graphite "Suspicion" and in the lower right corner of the page (when held vertically) is "S. W. Harley." The backside of the page is blank except for the number "9" within a small circle in ballpoint pen in the upper left corner.
The next page also "reads" with the sketchbook held vertically, rather than horizontally. The pictorial image, done entirely in graphite, shows two raccoons turned toward one another, one on a flat rock, the other on ground foliage. The image is set within two concentric circles drawn in black ink, beneath which is lettered in graphite "When do We Eat?" In the lower right corner of the page (when held vertically) in graphite is "S. W. Harley". The backside of the page is blank except for the number "10" within a small circle in ballpoint pen in the upper left corner.
The next four pages have circles drawn in ink on them, apparently in expectation of pictures being rendered within them. However, all these circles are blank. The first three have two concentric circles, the fourth has three.
A doublefold sheet (4 pages) is completely detached from the stapled binding and simply stuck loose among the pages. On the front (first) page of this doublefold, concentric lines drawn in black ink in a diamond shape enclose a woodpecker sitting on a branch. The pictorial image is rendered in graphite with bright red pencil coloring the bird's head and a bit of blue on the upper wing and tail. Along the lower right outside of the diamond is written in graphite "Redy Maid". In the lower right corner of the page is written in graphite "S. W. Harley". The backside of the page is blank except for the number "6" within a small circle in ballpoint pen in the upper left corner.

Acquired along with the sketchbook per se are five loose graphite drawings, all rendered on cardstock. They are as follows:

(1, acc. no. 2003.301.1, 2): Two deer pausing beside a lake or stream, with tall trees in the background, the whole rendered in graphite. In graphite is written in the lower left corner, "Compliments" and, in the lower right corner, "S. W. Harley". On the backside in the upper left corner, the number "1" is written in ballpoint pen within a circle. The cardstock support measures 3 11/16" x 5 9/16".

(2, acc. no. 2003.301.1, 3): A log cabin looking upon a meadow, with two rabbits investigating a turned over bucket at front center and two mules at front right, with a mountain view in the background, the whole rendered in graphite. In graphite is written in the lower left corner within a banner, "My Blue Ridge Mountain/Home"; in the center lower margin within parentheses is, "Compliments of S. W. Harley"; and in the lower right corner within a banner is, "CUMBERLAND MNT,'S." On the backside in the upper left corner, the number "2" is written in ballpoint pen within a circle. The cardstock support measures 3 11/16" x 5 9/16".

(3, acc. no. 2003.301.1, 4): Three wolves occupy the foreground and all stare (apparently hungrily; two have their tongues hanging out) at a cabin in the left background. The whole is rendered in graphite. In the lower margin to left of center is written in graphite, "Compliments of S. W. Harley". On the backside in the upper left corner, the number "3" is written in ballpoint pen within a circle. The cardstock support measures 3 5/8" x 5 1/2".

(4, acc. no. 2003.301.1, 5): A group of white birds flying over a body of water, with a leaping fish (trout) at front center and trees covering the banks and hillside in the distance, the whole rendered in graphite. This image is rendered in a vertical oval. Written in graphite in the lower left corner of the page not covered by drawing is "Fishing" and, in the lower right corner, "Compliments/of/S. W. H." On the backside in the upper left corner, the number "4" is written in ballpoint pen within a circle. The cardstock support measures 5" x 3 1/16".

(5, 2003.301.1, 6): A waterfall with trees beyond it and birds flying overhead, the whole rendered in graphite. Written in graphite in the lower margin is "Compliments of S. W. Harley". On the backside in the upper left corner, the number "5" is written in ballpoint pen within a circle. The cardstock support measures 2 5/8" x 3 5/8".

Label:Harley's sense of humor and his affinity for the natural world are evident in several inscriptions in this partially-filled sketchbook, some of them plays on words, some of them ascribing humorous human qualities to his animal subjects, such as an image of two forlorn-looking racoons titled, "When do we eat?" A drawing of a red-headed woodpecker is titled "Redy Maid" (a play on the name of a commercially available substitute for whipped cream).
With slight variations, all five loose drawings acquired with the sketchbook are inscribed, "Compliments of S. W. Harley," suggesting that the artist intended passing them out as tokens of friendship or appreciation.
Provenance:CWF's source, Martha Tonn, is the widow of Donald C. Tonn (1918-1982), from whom she inherited the book and loose sketches. Donald Tonn's parents, Albert Tonn (1890-1971) and Ida J. Tonn (nee Wagner)(1889-1977), once owned Steve Harley's farm in Mason County, Michigan. The Tonns befriended Harley and saw a good deal of him, even after the Tonns moved off the farm and into Scottville, Michigan. See B. Luck notes from trip of September 2002 to Mason Co., Mich.
Inscription(s):Inside the front cover in script in graphite is "Notice/This is Drawing/Tablet/and not to figure on See?/S. W. H." In the lower left corner, in block letters in ballpoint pen, is "Property/of/Donald C. Tonn". Inside the back cover in script in graphite is "No. 43/Cough Medicine" and, in one corner, "FA/25".

N. B. Inscriptions appearing on various pages within the book pages or on the loose drawings are noted in their descriptions.