December 1961 | Volume 13, Issue 1
One of the qualities that has given Washington Irving a lasting reputation in American literature is his extraordinary ability to paint a picture with words, to evoke the sights and sounds and smells of spirited battles, peaceful landscapes, and the colorful legends of the past. His pages abound in passages of almost irresistible appeal to the artist. “You opened to me.” the British painter C. R. Leslie wrote to him, “a new range of observation of my own art and a perception of the qualities and character of things …”
During Irving’s own lifetime and in the century since his death, some of the best illustrators and painters both here and abroad have tried their hands at bringing to life pathetic old Rip Van Winkle and terrified young Ichabod Crane, at calling up the varied scenes of The Sketch Book, or at re-creating the bountiful Christmases at Bracebridge Hall. On the next thirteen pages AMERICAN HERITAGE presents a portfolio of the work of these men, from F. O. C. Darley, the best known American illustrator of Irving’s era, to Maxfield Parrish, N. C. Wyeth, and Arthur Rack ham, of our own. With the reproductions are Irving’s own descriptions, which remain astonishingly fresh.