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.
I had only known of Andrew Wyeth (1917 – 2009) through his famous and much reproduced Americana painting Christina’s World.
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.”
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.
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).
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.
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.
The things you learn … All good gaming inspiration.
Blogposted by Mr MIN, Man of TIN, July 2016.