Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates

Howard Pyle (March 5, 1853 – November 9, 1911) was an American illustrator and author, primarily of books for young readers. A native of Wilmington, Delaware, Pyle’s depictions of pirates have become the modern stereotype of pirate attire. For example, the dress of characters in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, or in Peter Pan, are derived from Pyle’s imaginative illustrations.

In 1894 he began teaching illustration at the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry in Philadelphia. After 1900, he founded his own school of art and illustration, named the Howard Pyle School of Illustration Art.  N.C Wyeth (the father of Andrew and grandfather of Jamie Wyeth) and Frank Schoonover studied under Pyle, whose home and studio in Wilmington, Delaware is still standing and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Pyle traveled to Florence, Italy in 1910 to study mural painting. He died there in 1911 of a sudden kidney infection.

The Delaware Historical Society has numerous books by Pyle, many of which will be highlighted on this blog from time to time. Today, we focus on his Book of Pirates :


About This Old Book:

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