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by Louise Fiske

Lot 47 from Catalog 484 Here

William Henry Bradley
(July 10, 1868- January 25, 1962)

Nicknamed the “Dean of American Designers” by the Saturday Evening Post, he was one of the most celebrated Art Nouveau illustrators.

He was born in Boston, Massachusetts, at the age of 12 he began a job as an apprentice for a weekly newspaper “The Iron Agitator” In Ishpeming, Michigan.  He left at 17 to pursue a career in Chicago, Illinois, where he held a few brief jobs as a wood engraver, and typographer before dedicating himself to freelance graphic design.  He moved back to Massachusetts, in January 1896, and formed the small Wayside Press in Springfield, Massachusetts.

One of his most ambitious projects was the publication of Bradley: His Book.

In the prospectus, Bradley describes it as: “a little magazine of interesting reading, interspersed with various bits of art, and privately printed at the Wayside Press, Springfield, Mass.” Contributors to the first issue included prior collaborators Nixon Waterman and Harriet Monroe. The first issue was also dominated by advertisements created by Bradley for past clients, such as the

Michigan Stove Company

American Type Founders, and All 10,000 copies of the issue “Bradley His Book”  sold out before it was published. Bradley produced 25,000 copies of a more text-heavy second issue in June.

The periodical usually contained compilations of poetry, stories, and sketches, and his work received a warm reception. He had achieved financial success, but the stress of managing so many projects at once began to damage his health, and he collapsed at the age of 28. He recovered quickly, but he was forced to sell the Wayside Press.

He later worked as a consultant for the American Type Founders and as editor for Collier’s Weekly.  He worked briefly with children’s books, then for William Randolph Hearst’s film division as a supervising art director as well as an assistant director on the Wharton Brothers’ serial films Beatrice Fairfax and Patria.  He later founded his own production company, “Dramafilms”  and went on to write and produce his own films.

The New York Evening Telegram introduced Bradley, “the director of Moongold is Will Bradley,

widely known as an art editor, and he attributes the success of this, his fifth picture, to the application of the rules he has used for years in illustrating his magazine stories, keeping in sight the fact that a motion picture must express the action a magazine Illustration only suggests.”

Lois Bartlett

Actress Lois Bartlett was just ten years old when she appeared in Moongold; reported as the “youngest leading lady on the screen.”  Like most of his actors, Bartlett came from Broadway.  Some critics though, reported her character as “petulant” and “childish.” Bradley most probably meant to coax that performance out of her, as Pierrette was supposed to rebuff Pierrot’s offerings, and the story was from the perspective of the child. To get the most spontaneous, naturalistic performance from his young Pierrette, Will Bradley would not let her rehearse. He told her the setup just before filming each scene.

In 1954 The Typophiles published a memoir of Bradley’s Life.  The same year he won the AIGA medal, the highest honor for graphic designers.  He remained a prolific artist and designer  up to his death at age 94.

Richard Doddridge Blackmore
June 7, 1825- January 20,1900

Blackmore, an English Victorian novelist whose novel Lorna Doone won a secure place among English historical romances.

Educated at Blundell’s School, Tiverton, and at Exeter College, Oxford, Blackmore was called to the bar but withdrew because of ill health. He married in 1852 and was a schoolteacher from 1855 to 1857. Then, upon receiving a legacy,  he bought a property at Teddington and settled down to fruit growing. After publishing some poems, Blackmore produced Clara Vaughan, a first and fairly successful novel, in 1864 and Cradock Nowell in 1866. Lorna Doone (1869) was his third. Its popularity grew slowly, until the qualities of this imaginative and exciting tale of 17th-century Exmoor eventually brought it fame. Blackmore was a pioneer in the revival of romance fiction in the late 19th century, and his use of regional settings was also influential. Blackmore himself was a reserved but kindly man who was prouder of his orchard than of his 14 novels.

Blackmore was highly intelligent with a huge memory for places and people. But his consummate skill was with words. He loved them, their meaning and their usages. He loved to use new and original words, culled maybe from his classics or his considerable knowledge of local expressions and dialect.

He also loved nature. He grew up in country places and was endowed with amazing powers of observation of both the animal and vegetable world. He loved the fields and moors, streams and hedgerows. And he loved the weather, with all its moods and extremes. Blackmore was a friend to animals, in particular his dogs. He always had a dog at his side, sometimes more than one when he took pity on a stray or an injured dog, which he would take trouble to nurse back to health. He loved the bird life too, though he fought battles with the starlings who seemed to love his pears.

Blackmore had high moral standards, and unrelentingly held to them. He was a firm but fair boss in his garden, and he was likewise in his business relations, maybe coming down on the soft side (he never made much money out of his horticultural endeavors).

Finally, he had an abiding sense of humor. Indeed, his novels all contained much wit and humor, often of the passing or wry variety. He didn’t write comedies, let alone farces, but he loved to poke fun at people and situations. And he was well able to poke fun at himself.

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