Thursday, January 31, 2013


The cover art of Frank Schoonover

The proof of the book is not only in the reading. It is also in feasting the eyes on the cover. Particularly, if the art is by an illustrator like Frank Earle Schoonover (1877-1972).

Schoonover, one of the foremost students of renowned illustrator and author Howard Pyle, had more than 2,000 illustrations to his credit and many of these adorned the dust jackets of well-known books and magazines that included stories of Hopalong Cassidy by Clarence E. Mulford, A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Blackbeard Buccaneer by Ralph Delahaye Paine. 

Hopalong Takes Command oil on canvas
by Schoonover for The Fight at Buckskin
story (1905).
Schoonover worked in his studio in Wilmington, Delaware, where he earned the title of the Dean of Delaware Artists. His art collection, pertaining mainly to the early 20th century period, is preserved at the Delaware Art Museum. The museum was founded in 1912 as the Wilmington Society of the Fine Arts in honour of Howard Pyle. It celebrated its centennial last year.

According to the Schoonover Studios Ltd, “Schoonover’s subject matter included cowboys, Indians, and Canadian trappers. His forms were simple and well defined and his moods powerful. Later in his career, his style became less rigid and more impressionistic. Schoonover was also an accomplished water colourist and muralist and an avid photographer. He used photographs as references for his illustrations to remind himself of the mood and character of the models.”

The Golden Age illustrator was born in New Jersey, educated at Drexel University, Philadelphia, and died in Wilmington at the age of 95.

You can learn more about Frank Schoonover at Schoonover Studios Ltd and the Schoonover Fund.

Pictures: © Wikimedia Commons


  1. I really liked that Hopalong Cassidy cover. I've always seen Hopalong like that in my mind

    1. Charles, though I am familiar with Hopalong Cassidy, I haven't read many of his stories. I have, however, read a few comics based on the character.

  2. How did I miss this post yesterday? I love cover art, and this is exceptional. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. You are welcome, Tracy. I do this for fun and I learn something. Cover art has a mesmerising effect on my senses too. I love pictures, the older the better.