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Princess Ida and the Child

Howard Chandler Christy was one of America’s most popular book illustrators and a favorite of the Indianapolis-based Bobbs-Merrill Company. They not only published an anthology of love poems coupled with Christy’s drawings called The Christy Girl (1906), but a series of books combining his talents with those of the Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley. In 1910 the company used Christy to illustrate a centennial edition of Sir Walter Scott’s The Lady of the Lake. The deluxe gift book with full-color plates was so successful that they planned a follow-up the next year. Christy selected Tennyson’s The Princess from a list of five possible classics of English and American poetry. The poem’s ambiguous setting allowed Christy to mix medieval costumes with Greek, Roman, Scandinavian, and Persian elements.

Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art’s collection includes three other large-scale studies for The Princess (Eskenazi Museum of Art 85.2.1, 85.2.4, and 85.2.6); one for Riley’s When She Was about Sixteen (Eskenazi Museum of Art 85.2.3); and two for Scott’s The Lady of the Lake (Eskenazi Museum of Art 85.2.5 and 85.2.7).

Howard Chandler Christy
American, 1873–1952
Princess Ida and the Child [Study for an illustration in Alfred Lord Tennyson’s *The Princess*]
1911
Gouache, watercolor, and charcoal on illustration board
Image/sheet: 39 ¾ x 29 5/8 in. (101.0 x 75.2 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, transferred from the Lilly Library, 85.2.2