Costumes of American Literary Characters: Little Lord Fauntleroy Illustrators

Figure 1.--This color drawing closly followed one of Reginald Birch's original classic drawings. Click on the image to compare. Note the red stockings, they are mentioned in the book, although cedric wasn't wearing his velvet suit and lace collar at the time.

Several important illustrators have illustrated the various editions of Little Lord Fauntleroy. Illustrators from every major European country have illustrated the various national editions of Mrs. Burnett's book. Many of them may well have worn velvet Fauntleroy suits as boys, however as yet I have little background on them.

The first edition of Francis Hodgson Burnett's book Little Lord Fauntleroy was illustrated by Reginald Birch. The image of Little Lord Fauntleroy, Cedric Erol, was largely set by the Birch drawings. Actual descriptions of costumes were very limited in the book itself. Many subsequent editions of the book, both Americam, foreign were illustrated by others. None of these illustrations, however, were to have the influence of Birch's originals. Many used the Birch drawings as a model. Others came up with a wide variety of fanciful outfits.

Reginald Birch--England/America (1856-1043)

Famed Anglo-American illustrator Reginal Birch was born in London during 1856. His family moved to America at 6 years of age and he grew up in San Francusco. He returned to Europe for studies in Germany (Munich) and Italy. I have few details, however, on his childhood or how he was dressed as a boy.

Birch was a noted illustrator of the day, regularly illustrating stories in America's legendary St. Nichlos Magazine. On l'appela le "Gibson des enfants" pour ses innombrables dessins à la plume parus dans le Saint-Nicolhas américain. Presumably Birch met Mrs. Burnett through their work at St. Nicholas. He was personaly chosen by her to illustrate her immensly popular book.

The original Birch drawings show Cedric wearing a sailor hat, black velvet suit, large (but not huge) pointed lace collar without ruffles, a sash, black stockings, and patent shoes. One interesting point is that Cedric in the Birch drawings had long hair, but they were not done into the carefully curled ringlets that many boys, especially American boys were to wear with their Fauntleroy suits. Even Vivian Burnett's hair was not done in ringlets.

The many illustrators that followed Burnett often did not closely folow the book or the first illustrator. Little Lord Fauntleroy appeared in suits and stockings of many colors. Often his hair was done in long ringlets.

Other books illustrated by Birch include:

Louisa May Alcott, Little Men, éd. Little, 1901.

Burnett, Little Lord Fauntleroy, éd. Scribner, 1886.

Erckmann-Chatrian, Marie-Thérèse, 1933.

Marcel Bloch--France (1882-?)

Bloc was a noted French illustrator. He was born in Paris during 1882. I have no details on how he was dresses as a child, but he may have well worn a velvey Fauntleroy suit himself. Elève aux Arts décoratifs de Paris, il commence par exposé ses tabelaux, puis se dirige vers l'affiche. Il fera une belle carrière dans la publicité, avant d'illustrer des livres pour enfants, notamment chez Nelson, Dervaux et Delagrave. The illustrator should not be confused with the French World War I aviator of the same name.

Books illustrated by Bloch have included:

F.H. Burnett, Le Petit Lord Fountleroy, Nelson, 1938.

F. H. Burnett, Petite princesse, 1934.

Jean de La Fontaine, Fables, Renouard, 1935.

George Sand, La Petite Fadette, G.P., 1949.

Fabio Fabbi-Italy (1861-1946)

Italian painter and illustrator was born in Bologne during 1861. I have no details on his childhood or the clothes he wore as a boy. D'abors sculpteur, il se met à la peinture et deivent membre de l'acédémie de Florence. Il expose ensuite de nombreuses fois à l'étranger. On lui doit également de nombreuses illustrations pour la jeunesse.

Other books illustrated by Fabbi include:
F. Burnett, Il Piccolo Lord, Florence, Marzocco, 1940.

E.R. Burroughs, Il ritorno di Tarzan, Florence, Bemporad.

Fénelon, Le aventure di Telemaco, Florence, Bemporad, 1920.

J. Verne, L'isola misteriosa, Florence, Bemporad, 1921.

J. Verne, Ventimilo leghe sotto i mari, Florence, Bemporad, 1921.

Alberto Micheli--Italy (1870-?)

Alberto Micheli is another Italian illustrator. I have no information on his childhood or how he was dressed as a boy. He was born in Florence during 1870. Fils d'un architecte, il étudie aux Beaux-Arts de Florence et expose surtout des paysages. En 1896, il commence une carrière d'illustrateur et se fit une solide réputation. Dans les années 30, Micheli dessine notamment pour les éditions Salani.

The only book I know of that was illustrated by Micheli is:

F. Burnett, Un Piccolo Lord, Florence, Salani, 1935.

Charles. E Brock--England (??)

An edition published by Warne in 1925 had beautiful illustrations by C E Brock (brother of another story illustrator, H M Brock). A few of the pictures are color plates, showing a royal blue velvet suit, the remainder are monochrome sketches.

Brock is probably best known for his classic illustrations of Jane Austin novels in the late 19th and early 20th century:

Pride and Prejudice, 1895: Brock's illustrations seem to present Regency clothing styles fairly well, and they also enter into the spirit of the humor often present in Pride and Prejudice -- and above all, they don't make Elizabeth Bennet and other sensible young females look silly!
Emma, about 1907-08
Mansfield Park
Northanger Abbey
Sense and Sensibility

Figure 2.--This is a drawing from a modern Polish edition of "Little Lord Fauntleroy. It is a technically well draw illustratiion, but one wonders how it is related to the character Mrs. Burnett developed.

Hanna Pasierska--Poland (19??-??)

Polish illustrator Hanna Pasierska has illustrated a 1998 edition of the Burnet classic. She is one of the few lady illustrators who have worked on the book.

The only book that I know of that she illustrated is:

F. Burnett, Ma³y lord, Wydanie, 1998.

Willy Plonck--Germany (1870-1956)

German illustrator Willy Plonck was born in Stuttgart during 1870. I have no details on his childhood or boyhood clothing. Willy Plonck est né à le 12 décembre 1870. Elève à l'Académie de Stuttgart, puis de Karlsruhe, il se fait une solide réputation de peintre de portrait et de paysage. Influencé par l'Art Déco, il illustre ensuite de nombreux livres pour la jeunesse.

Plonck appears to have been particularly active for some reason in 1907. Books illustrated by Plonck include:

Beecher-Stowe, Onkel Toms Hutte, Loewe Weise, 1909.

Burger, Baron von Münchausen, Weise, 1907.

Burnett, Der kleine Lord, Loewe, 1907.

Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, Thienemann, 1907.

J. Spyri, Heidi, 1932.

J. Swift, Gulliver Reisen, Weise, 1907.

Wyss, Der Scweizerische Robinson, 1920.

Graham Rust (England, 1942)

Graham Redgrave-Rust is an English artist-illustrator who has also authoted books. His credits are sometimes under the name Graham Rust. Rust was born in Hertfordshire during 1942. He studied his craft at the Polytechnic School of Art, Regent Street; the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London; and the National Academy of Art in New York. He has a strong interest in architectural art. Rust first exhibited drawings of London and Rome at the Hazlitt Gallery in 1971. He has also exhibited overseas. He has illustrated several books. He gas done two of Frances Hodgson Burnett's books: The Secret Garden (1886) and Little Lord Fauntleroy (1993). He also illustrated and Vita Sackville-West's Some Flowers (1993).

Aleardo Terzi--Italy (1870-1943)

Aleardo Terzi was another Itlalian illustrator who worked on an addition of Little Lord Fauntleroy. He was born in Palerme during 1870. Il fait ses études à l'académie des Beaux-Arts de Palerme, puis s'installe à Rome ou il développe une grande activité d'illustrateur et collabore à de nombreuses revues. Outre ses activités d'illustrateur, Terzi a également donné de nombreuses affiches.

Other books illustrated by Terzi include:

F.H. Burnett, Il piccolo Lord, Turin, Utet, s.d.

J. Swift, I viaggi di Gulliver, Milan, Lucchi, s.d.

F. M. Spiegle--American (18??-??)

Another illustrator of Little Lord Fauntleroy was F. M. Spiegle. Unfortunately I have no information on this illustrator, nor do I know if he did only individual illustrations or he illustrated an edition of Mrs. Burnett's book. It is a lovely drawing and given the clothing and setting is almost certainly an illustration from an edition of Little Lord Fauntleroy. The drawing appears to be an early one, but I have no information on the date.

Figure 3.--This Dell Yearling Classic was published in the post-war era. It's interesting to see how the artist has portrayed Cedric's suit, particularly the collar.

Unknown Illustrator

HBC has noted some editions of Little Lord Fauntleroy, but can not at this time setermine who the illustrator was. One of these editions is the Dell Yearling Classic. It appears to be a a postwar edition of Mrs. Burnett clasic.


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Created: June 11, 1999
Last updated: 6:25 PM 2/26/2007