Hobby Learning # 1: Andrew Wyeth

What I like about gaming and toy soldiers are all the incidental things you learn.

Such “Hobby Learning” you might assume  to be all about battles, weapons and suchlike.

“The pleasure does not begin and end with the actual playing of the war-game. There are many pleasant hours to be spent in making model soldiers, painting them, constructing terrain, carrying out research into battles, tactics and uniforms …”

Donald Featherstone, War Games 1962

However you find out a lot about many other subjects, including art and painters such as Andrew Wyeth.

Christinasworld
Andrew Wyeth, Christina’s World  (Image source: MOMA / Wikipedia)

 

I had only known of  Andrew Wyeth (1917 – 2009) through his famous and much reproduced Americana painting Christina’s World.

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Harold Pestana’s lovely redcoat toy soldiers feature on the front cover of Richard Scholl’s Toys Soldiers book.

 

However reading Richard Scholl’s Toy Soldiers book about the Malcolm Forbes Toy Soldier Collection (2004, Courage Books USA) I came across this delightful ‘Borrowers’ style tiny figures by a sunlit window frame sketch by Andrew Wyeth, a 1962 painting known as “The British at Brandywine.”

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Andrew Wyeth toy soldier sketch in Richard Scholl’s book Toy Soldiers (Courage Books, USA, 2004) about the Malcolm Forbes Toy Soldier Collection.

This letter / sketch was sold at Sotheby’s in 2010: http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2010/the-malcolm-forbes-toy-collection-n08706/lot.197.html

After Richard Scholl’s book I looked up “Andrew Wyeth” +  “Toy Soldiers” or “Military Miniatures” and found an interesting YouTube video “Andrew Wyeth Military Figurines”  (Lora Engelhart, 17 April 2012) about his dimestore / composition collection of American Toy Soldiers at his house / studio being curated and conserved.

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1940s composition pilot in my collection (Photo / figure: Man of TIN collection)

I have a few of these interesting American and composition figures in my own collection.

There are lots of other YouTube interviews and features about Wyeth and his artistic family and landscape to follow up.

Wyeth’s 1962 “The British at Brandywine” seen in the top right of the framed letter features a typical Wyeth “looking out of a window or slanting light through a windowpane” motif,  repeated through over 300 Wyeth sketches and  paintings, something picked up in a recent US National Gallery of Art in Washington exhibition: https://andreapawley.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/andrew-wyeth-at-the-national-gallery-of-art/

There is also a very interesting blogpost biography and a few photos of his toy soldiers seen during a visit to Wyeth’s preserved studio at Chadd’s Ford, PA (Pennsylvania).

http://ashorthistoryblog.com/andys-world-the-life-of-andrew-wyeth/

Wyeth’s world was the terrain of the American War of Independence and where the Battle of Brandywine Creek was fought. Hence the gift of the Revolutionary War soldiers being highly  appropriate.

Andrew’s father N.C. Wyeth was a well known illustrator of books featuring historical topics. He was part of the Brandywine School of painting, an artist’s colony set up by American artist and illustrator Howard Pyle, famous for his pirate and battle paintings.

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Nationmakers, painting by Howard Pyle in 1903 depicting Washington’s troops at  the Brandywine Creek battle of the Revolutionary War (now hanging in the Brandywine Creek Museum) Image Source: Wikipedia.

The Brandywine School was a style of illustration as well as an artists colony in Wilmington, Delaware and in Chadd’s Ford, Pennsylvania, near Brandywine River.  Both were  founded by American artist Howard Pyle (1853–1911) in the late 19th century. Many of these pictures were widely published in adventure novels, magazines, and romances in the early 1900s. http://www.rockwell-center.org/essays-illustration/the-nation-makers/

See the collection in http://www.brandywine.org/museum/collection

including an interesting N.C. Wyeth dream painting http://www.brandywine.org/museum/collection/collection-highlights/dream-i-meet-general-washington

As well as N.C. Wyeth, one of the other pupils that Howard Pyle tutored was American illustrator Jessie Wilcox Smith. Wilcox painted this interesting illustration of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Land Of Counterpane poem, about which we will post a separate future blog post on gaming and toy soldiers in bed.

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Land of Counterpane by  Jessie Willcox Smith  (Image source: Wikipedia)

The things you learn … All good gaming inspiration.

Blogposted by Mr MIN, Man of TIN, July 2016.

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Author: 26soldiersoftin

Hello I'm Mark Mr MIN, Man of TIN. Based in S.W. Britain, I'm a lifelong collector of "tiny men" and old toy soldiers, whether tin, lead or childhood vintage 1960s and 1970s plastic figures. I randomly collect all scales and periods and "imagi-nations" as well as lead civilians, farm and zoo animals. I enjoy the paint possibilities of cheap poundstore plastic figures as much as the patina of vintage metal figures. Befuddled by the maths of complex boardgames and wargames, I prefer the small scale skirmish simplicity of very early Donald Featherstone rules. To relax, I usually play solo games, often using hex boards. Gaming takes second place to making or convert my own gaming figures from polymer clay (Fimo), home-cast metal figures of many scales or plastic paint conversions. I also collect and game with vintage Peter Laing 15mm metal figures, wishing like many others that I had bought more in the 1980s ...

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