Howard Pyle, 1853-1911
When the image of a pirate pops in our heads, we see ragged clothing, colorful fabrics and textures, eyepatches, tri-corner-hats, earrings, peglegs, parrots, and bandanas.
Although some of these characteristics were exaggerated for the benefit of those in filmmaking to catch your attention, most are historically accurate. Howard Pyle was one of the first people to create images of pirates that still fascinate us today. He might even have assisted in the costuming and set-making for a certain hit Disney movie!
Howard Pyle, a native of Wilmington Delaware, was one of the most prolific illustrators of the late 19th century, sometimes referred to as the "Father of American Illustration".
Pyle has a long history that includes teaching art at the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry (presently Drexel University), and founding his own school whose students included N.C. Wyeth. His most famous illustrations and writings range in topic from historical eras from the Civil War to Robin Hood, medieval Europe and his most famous, pirates.
Pyle is most well-known for his dramatic paintings of pirates and for his attention to historical accuracy. Images of burning galleons, mutinies, and the division of stolen booty proudly adorn the walls of the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum.
The museum houses five reproductions:
The Buccaneer, 1905; Blackbeard's Last Fight, 1895; Which Shall be Captain, 1911; So the Treasure was Divided, 1905; and An Attack on a Galleon, 1905
In addition to the colorful and action-packed prints on display, the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum has the privilege of displaying a jewelry case that Howard Pyle himself used as a model for pirate treasure chests in his paintings. His initials are set on the top of the jewelry chest and the likeness is seen in both "The Buccaneer" and "Which Shall be Captain". This chest is a replica of the Howard Pyle Chest from Delaware Art Museum's collection.
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