Hilary Knight’s Illustrations for The Owl and the Pussy-cat

AN ARCHIVE OF HILARY KNIGHT ILLUSTRATIONS FOR THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT.
Sixteen finished double-page watercolors for Hilary Knight’s The Owl and the Pussy-Cat (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1983), based on Edward Lear, watercolor, tempura, ink and color pencil, each 315 x 500 mm.
WITH: six preliminary pencil sketches of characters and double-page spreads; color photograph of Mr. Knight’s cat Skeezix, in front of the found photograph of a little girl who suggested Polly in the picture book; and inventory of the art.

Hilary Knight’s fantasia based on Edward Lear’s great nonsense ballad is among the artist’s most extraordinary achievements. Two children, Polly and Otto, visit Professor Comfort who transforms them into the famous Edward Lear characters and sends them off on a marvelous adventure. He is assisted by his pet monkey Arabella (originally a little girl in a fez as shown in one preliminary pencil sketch). The song the Owl sings was set to music by musical composer Douglas Colby on pp 18-19. The illustration of the Piggy-wig with the ring on the end of his nose on pp 24-25 is a puzzle page with references to all sorts of rings (key ring, earring, curtain ring, smoke ring, napkin ring, onion ring, boxing ring, spy ring, Wagner’s “The Ring” on the Victrola, bath tub ring, telephone ring, etc). The book was reissued with new endpapers, the front ones with a special foldout with Colby’s music.

Bonhams.

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