Steamboat Illustrations, Page 2


Captioned composite of three of Missouri artist Thomas Hart Benton's steamboat illustrations for Limited Editions Club's HUCK FINN and LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI by Twain.


Attached detail of the steamboat from the upper right hand corner of Benton's lithograph of his Missouri State capital mural in Jefferson Ctiy which included Huck Finn & Jim.
Benton's lithograph is a mirror image of the mural. In the mural the name of the boat on the paddle box is SAM CLEMENS.


An illustration which appears on the front cover and page 15 of a new German translation from last year of Mark Twain's 1896 novel "Tom Sawyer, Detective as told by Huck Finn." You can barely make out a square Confederate flag flying from the stern of the steamboat. In an illustration of a courtroom scene on page 89 there's a much more conspicuous Confederate flag hanging on the wall behind the Judge. I gather artist Jan Reiser assumed that during the 1850's (when the story takes place) Arkansas was already a Confederate state.

The swinging stages on the front of the boat weren't introduced on the rivers until after the Civil War. The bulkhead angled over the paddlewheel may be the illustrator's concept for a "splash guard" to keep passengers and crew dry while the wheel is turning.

"Tom Sawyer als Detektiv : erzählt von Huck Finn"
by Mark Twain. Mit Illustrationen von Jan Reiser
Published in Munich 2011 by Hanser

Huck Finn begins Chapter 2 with an account of how he and Tom Sawyer book passage from St. Petersburg, (Hannibal) Missouri down the Mississippi to Tom's uncle Silas Phelps' Arkansas farm where Huck's runaway slave friend Jim had been held prisoner during the previous Spring in the last chapters of Mark Twain's "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."
We had powerful good luck; because we got a chance in a stern-wheeler from away North which was bound for one of them bayous or one-horse rivers away down Louisiana way, and so we could go all the way down the Upper Mississippi and all the way down the Lower Mississippi to that farm in Arkansaw without having to change steamboats at St. Louis; not so very much short of a thousand miles at one pull.

A pretty lonesome boat; there warn't but few passengers, and all old folks, that set around, wide apart, dozing, and was very quiet. We was four days getting out of the 'upper river,' because we got aground so much. But it warn't dull--couldn't be for boys that was traveling, of course."

HarperGoff SteamboatCalendarArtHalf Size

Attached steamboat calendar art painted by motion picture art director Harper Goff (1911-1993) for Shaw-Barton publishers circa the '50's. Harper designed the Victorian submarine NAUTILUS for Disney's 1954 film version of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

I'm not sure why Harper chose to name this big sidewheel packet boat the Delta Queen but it may have been a tribute to the DQ after Harper had taken a cruise aboard her which is likely but I'm not certain if and when he did so.

My late friend Tom Scherman (1940-1995) was an expert on the subject of Goff's NAUTILUS submarine and Tom made many scale models of it and was the interior designer of the NAUTILUS submarine attraction for Euro Disneyland (Paris, France).

I met Harper several times and had dinner with him, his wife and Tom Scherman at DuPar's one evening in Studio City years ago.

Harper also played banjo in Disney artist Ward Kimball's "Firehouse 5 plus 2" jazz band.

Harper was given a number of entertaining cameo acting roles in some of the movies that he did art direction for including 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Detective Story, The Vikings and Pete Kelly's Blues.

Disney Imagineering put on a retrospective exhibit at their Glendale facility of Harper's career in movies, commercial art, fine art and theme parks in the '80's.

A great many original pieces of Harper's art work were on display at the show which included drawings, paintings and designs for special props and set pieces.

I spoke to Harper at that exhibit about his art directing and his cameo appearance as a banjo player in the 1955 film, Pete Kelly's Blues (in which the steamer General John Newton appeared during the opening sequence filmed on a Louisiana bayou) which Jack Webb directed and starred in.


An steampunk art exhibit at the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Conn. from fall of last year to winter of this year . . .


Attached scan of a poster for Hannibal's "Mark Twain" (Jim Waddell) that includes a composite I made of him over a painting of New Orleans in 1850.


CD cover art done in the tradition of MAD magazine cover artist/caricature expert Jack Davis. Nice technical accuracy on the li'l sternwheeler. Down Home Jazz Band records for the Stomp Off label. buy the CD at Amazon.com.


Detail from the Kaywoodie pipe ad which included a colorized still from STEAMBOAT ROUND THE BEND.


The PIASA at LaClede's landing, Eads Bridge in the background.

Upper left vignette of illustration from the Kelly Tire ad based on the photo of the PIASA.

Lower left a frame from 4 FOR TEXAS (1963) in which the Warner Bros. art department painting of the PIASA is seen in an oval vignette on the doors of the safe behind Grady Sutton as the nervous clerk. The fictional Zachariah Thomas was played by Frank Sinatra.



Here are a couple of sample pen and ink drawings by C.J. Taylor

Page 11 . . . exterior pilot house
Page 133 . . . interior pilot house
by Charles D. Stewart
Illustrated by C.J. Taylor
The Century Company, N.Y. 1907

This book was reviewed in the NY Times on March 30, 1907 under the headline FROM MISSOURI . . . The True Adventures and Wise Observations of Sam, a Boy of the Steamboats"

The narrator is a boy named Sam Daly whose ". . .congenial stomping ground is upon Missouri and Mississippi River steamboats and the rafts and landings from Cairo to New Orleans. The period is somewhat subsequent to that already made famous by Mark Twain."

The reviewer subsequently gets a bit carried away in their accolades such as:

"The narrative drifts care-free like the river upon whose bosom it floats, with eddies and resting places on the bank, the rollicking song of the 'coonjiners' (Missouri for coal passers) weaving itself into a tune with ripple of the waters and accompanying as a supporting orchestra the treble of the young troubadour's tale."

It would be interesting to know what Sam Clemens himself thought of this book since he very probably read it.


hand out for passengers published by STECKFUS STEAMERS, INC. at St. Louis in 1926. 4 1/4 X 6 inches.


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