Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer Illustrations - Page 2


Swedish illustrator Eric Palmquist (1908-1999) was a gifted artist whose sketch-style pen and ink drawings are comparable to artwork created by the most talented production designers and story board artists that I knew at the Walt Disney Studio.

Palmquist illustrated both of Sam Clemens' classic boyhood on the Mississippi novels: TOM SAWYER in 1956 and HUCKLEBERRY FINN in 1957 for Tidens Bokklubb of Stockholm, Sweden.

Palmquist's human and animal characters were outstanding, drawn with great spontaneity, personality and humor. Attached two of Palmquist's steamboat drawings for HUCKLEBERRY FINN. The one on the left of Huck and Jim on their raft approaching the wreck of the steamboat WALTER SCOTT on page 77, the sternwheeler is from page 131. Palmquist's illustrations are reminiscent in some respects to the pen and ink drawings by E.W. Kemble for the first edition of HUCK FINN that was published in 1884.


Andy Thomas of Carthage, Missouri has painted Huckleberry Finn and Jim on their raft on the Mississippi with a full moon in the cloudy night sky above them.

The steamboat on the right bears the name "S.L. CLEMENS," the actual identity of Huck and Jim's creator Mark Twain.

The attached image is a detail of the painting.

Andy's Maze Creek Studio in Carthage offers a number of different size giclees/prints on canvas and paper for sale at the following link:

andy thomas HUCK FINN Jim and Huck Raft Oval Detail EXP for NORI

Detail of Andy Thomas' painting HUCK FINN . . . this is a detail of the left half of the canvas with approaching steamboat on a moonlit night and Huck and Jim on their raft.

Andy Thomas HUCK detail Str S.L. Clemens reduced for NORI

Attached detail from the 18x36 giclee print on paper of HUCK FINN which features Huck and Jim on their raft in the middle of the Mississippi on a moonlit night.

This is the boat in the upper right quadrant of the painting, given Mark Twain's real name S(amuel) L(anghorne) CLEMENS.

Various sizes of reproductions of this full painting are available on paper and canvas at Andy's site:


1844 surviving a sinking steamboat

Andy Thomas painted Huck and Jim on their raft with 2 steamboats on a moonlit stretch of the Mississippi. For a 2015 issue of TRUE WEST Andy painted a climactic scene during the sinking of the SHEPHERDESS in 1844. Attached is a composite with a smaller file of the full painting in vertical format and a larger file in horizontal format of a detail of the painting.

The Sinking Ship Survivor
Passenger Robert Bullock found the hero within him.
OCTOBER 9, 2015
TRUE WEST magazine


History in Art
By Illustrator Andy Thomas

I show the moment the boat hit the second snag and tossed Robert Bullock and others into the Mississippi River. The second snag caused the boat to momentarily list severely to its larboard side. The steamboat is modeled after artist Gary Lucy's painting of the recovered steamboat Arabia; it was of similar tonnage and close to the same time period as the Shepherdess (a contemporaneous newspaper engraving depicted the Shepherdessas a sidewheeler).

Author Terry A. Del Bene is a former Bureau of Land Management archaeologist and the author of Donner Party Cookbook and the novel 'Dem Bon'z.

THE STORY by Terry A. Del Bene:
The American West begins in St. Louis, Missouri. Many entering the frontier started their journeys by riding on steamboats to jumping-off areas in Missouri. Riverboat disasters were all too frequent.

On the frigid night of January 3, 1844, the Shepherdess was steaming upstream roughly three miles from St. Louis, its destination. Steamboats of the period had private accommodations for those able to pay, while general passengers were provided separate women's and gentlemen's cabins. Most of the roughly 70 passengers shared these two parlors on the first deck. By 11:00 p.m. many of the ladies and gents had retired for bed. In the men's parlor, a few gentlemen sat around a stove for warmth.

The air was filled with the sounds now familiar to the passengers—chugging of the engines, churning of water, water slapping against the bow, creaking of timbers, people coughing and the noises of livestock on the deck.

The peaceful night was suddenly rent by a loud scraping and the sounds of cracking timbers. The boat had hit a snag of timber in the river. After a brief pause, the air resounded with alarms, screaming children and the moaning of the stricken vessel as it broke into splinters.

The boat lurched and filled with freezing water, which reached the lower deck in less than two minutes. Captain Abram P. Howell entered the ladies' cabin and assured them they were safe. Afterwards, he was washed overboard while ringing an alarm bell. Three minutes after the crash, the boat was flooding to the upper decks, and the passengers were scrambling for safety by any available means.

Passenger Robert Bullock, of Maysville, Kentucky, immediately responded to the crash by going from stateroom to stateroom, looking for women and children to evacuate. He took his fellow passengers to the hurricane roof, which, by this time, was the only part of the Shepherdess above water. With many of the women in their night clothing, the samaritan surrendered his fine wool coat to one lady during his several rescue missions. Included among those he rescued was Col. Joseph H. Wood's "Ohio Fat Girl," an entertainer in a traveling "freak show." The eight-year-old girl weighed roughly 250 pounds.

When the Shepherdess, by this time powerless and drifting downriver, hit a second snag, the impact threw Bullock overboard. He swam the dark, freezing currents and found footing on the Illinois side. There, Bullock found two women who had been landed by a skiff, but were freezing. As the ladies drifted off to sleep, he feared that slumber would bring death to them, so he struggled to keep the suffering women awake. He helped the pair get to safety at Cahokia Bend.

Forty persons, including Capt. Howell and one of his 11 children, reportedly perished in the accident. Only the efforts of unsung heroes, like Bullock, kept the death toll from being higher.

The sunken ship put all of those who went into the water into a serious survival situation. After swimming to land, Robert Bullock found himself keeping two ladies alive while awaiting rescue. The nature of 19th-century clothing helped, as everyone was likely wearing woolens. Even when wet, such clothes retain some of their insulating properties.

Bullock waking his fellow castaways once on land might have been prudent. If they were hypothermic, keeping them active was good; otherwise, it could have had negative effects. His best option was to keep the survivors huddled together to share body heat.

steamboat illustration

I took this of a detail in Thomas Hart Benton's Mural in the Missouri State Capital, Jefferson City, MO last month. This is from his Huck Finn and Jim section. The boat of course bears Mark Twain's real name SAM CLEMENS. - Dave


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 the character 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."


After 35 days in transit from Lithuania I received a unique Russian edition of Mark Twain's TOM SAWYER published in 1992 and illustrated by Nicholas Bayrachny who in 1996 also illustrated a Russian edition of Tolkein's THE HOBBIT.

Attached scans of Bayrachny's illustration of the steam ferry boat that Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn and Joe Harper observe from their hiding place on Jackson's Island where they ran away to "play pirate" along with the front cover of this edition.

It's apparent that Bayrachny based his steam ferry boat on a photograph of the steamboat MARK TWAIN that runs on the Rivers of America at Frontierland in Disneyland theme park. On the pilot house are the the last 4 letters of the pen name Sam Clemens used "WAIN" (minus the "T" at the beginning of the word).

The citizens of St. Petersburg (the fictional name that Sam Clemens gave to his hometown of Hannibal, MO in his Tom and Huck novels) assume that the three missing boys may have drowned in the Mississippi River and send out the local ferry boat to search for their bodies. The 1840's methods to get a drowned body to rise to the surface of the river are described in the excerpt from TOM SAWYER below.

The artist converted the MARK TWAIN from a sternwheeler to a sidewheeler and reduced the number of people on board from a "crowd" to a one man dressed like a Captain who's firing the cannon from the prow of the boat rather than the side.

Nicholas included a nice detail of the nautical artillery at the bottom of the page.

Abridged from Mark Twain's Adventures of Tom Sawyer, 1876, Chapter 14:

The little steam ferryboat was about a mile below the village, drifting with the current. Her broad deck seemed crowded with people. There were a great many skiffs rowing about or floating with the stream in the neighborhood of the ferryboat, but the boys could not determine what the men in them were doing. Presently a great jet of white smoke burst from the ferryboat's side, and as it expanded and rose in a lazy cloud . . . a dull throb of sound was borne to the listeners . . .

Tom exclaimed "Somebody's drownded!"

"That's it!" said Huck; "they done that last summer, when Bill Turner got drownded; they shoot a cannon over the water, and that makes him come up to the top. Yes, and they take loaves of bread and put quicksilver in 'em and set 'em afloat, and wherever there's anybody that's drownded, they'll float right there and stop."

Tom . . . exclaimed again:

"Boys, I know who's drownded—it's us!"

They felt like heroes in an instant. Here was a gorgeous triumph; they were missed; they were mourned; hearts were breaking on their account; tears were being shed; accusing memories of unkindness to these poor lost lads were rising up, and unavailing regrets and remorse were being indulged; and best of all, the departed were the talk of the whole town, and the envy of all the boys, as far as this dazzling notoriety was concerned. This was fine. It was worth while to be a pirate, after all.


Attached an illustration from TOM SAWYER painted by Troy Howell in 1989 that depicts the same scene from the novel that Russian illustrator Nicholas Bayrachny created in 1992.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Longmeadow Press; 1993
Troy Howell (Painted illustrations 1989)
Troy's website:


Attached matched pair . . . Thomas Easterly's 1853 daguerreotype of the St. Louis levee (in the collection of the Missouri Historical Museum) and an original color illustration painted by British artist John Worsley for a 1984 Exeter Books abridged addition of Mark Twain's TOM SAWYER (Tom is sitting on the fence and Huck Finn standing by) with the steamboats in the background based on the 1853 image.


Horst Lemke's watercolor of the "Graveyard" scene in a German edition of TOM SAWYER is brilliant.
Potter and Injun Joe were carrying a handbarrow with a rope and a couple of shovels on it. They cast down their load and began to open the grave. The doctor put the lantern at the head of the grave and came and sat down with his back against one of the elm trees. He was so close the boys could have touched him.

"Hurry, men!" he said, in a low voice; "the moon might come out at any moment."

They growled a response and went on digging. For some time there was no noise but the grating sound of the spades discharging their freight of mould and gravel. It was very monotonous. Finally a spade struck upon the coffin with a dull woody accent, and within another minute or two the men had hoisted it out on the ground. They pried off the lid with their shovels, got out the body and dumped it rudely on the ground. The moon drifted from behind the clouds and exposed the pallid face. The barrow was got ready and the corpse placed on it, covered with a blanket, and bound to its place with the rope. Potter took out a large spring-knife and cut off the dangling end of the rope and then said:

"Now the cussed thing's ready, Sawbones, and you'll just out with another five, or here she stays."

"That's the talk!" said Injun Joe.

"Look here, what does this mean?" said the doctor. "You required your pay in advance, and I've paid you."

"Yes, and you done more than that," said Injun Joe, approaching the doctor, who was now standing. "Five years ago you drove me away from your father's kitchen one night, when I come to ask for something to eat, and you said I warn't there for any good; and when I swore I'd get even with you if it took a hundred years, your father had me jailed for a vagrant. Did you think I'd forget? The Injun blood ain't in me for nothing. And now I've got you, and you got to settle, you know!"

He was threatening the doctor, with his fist in his face, by this time. The doctor struck out suddenly and stretched the ruffian on the ground. Potter dropped his knife, and exclaimed:

"Here, now, don't you hit my pard!" and the next moment he had grappled with the doctor and the two were struggling with might and main, trampling the grass and tearing the ground with their heels. Injun Joe sprang to his feet, his eyes flaming with passion, snatched up Potter's knife, and went creeping, catlike and stooping, round and round about the combatants, seeking an opportunity. All at once the doctor flung himself free, seized the heavy headboard of Williams' grave and felled Potter to the earth with it— and in the same instant the half-breed saw his chance and drove the knife to the hilt in the young man's breast. He reeled and fell partly upon Potter, flooding him with his blood, and in the same moment the clouds blotted out the dreadful spectacle and the two frightened boys went speeding away in the dark.

Presently, when the moon emerged again, Injun Joe was standing over the two forms, contemplating them. The doctor murmured inarticulately, gave a long gasp or two and was still. The half-breed muttered:

"That score is settled— damn you."

Then he robbed the body. After which he put the fatal knife in Potter's open right hand, and sat down on the dismantled coffin. Three — four— five minutes passed, and then Potter began to stir and moan. His hand closed upon the knife; he raised it, glanced at it, and let it fall, with a shudder. Then he sat up, pushing the body from him, and gazed at it, and then around him, confusedly. His eyes met Joe's.

"Lord, how is this, Joe?" he said.

"It's a dirty business," said Joe, without moving.

"What did you do it for?"

"I! I never done it!"

"Look here! That kind of talk won't wash."

Potter trembled and grew white.

"I thought I'd got sober. I'd no business to drink to-night. But it's in my head yet— worse'n when we started here. I'm all in a muddle; can't recollect anything of it, hardly. Tell me, Joe— honest, now, old feller— did I do it? Joe, I never meant to— 'pon my soul and honor, I never meant to, Joe. Tell me how it was, Joe. Oh, it's awful— and him so young and promising."

"Why, you two was scuffling, and he fetched you one with the headboard and you fell flat; and then up you come, all reeling and staggering like, and snatched the knife and jammed it into him, just as he fetched you another awful clip— and here you've laid, as dead as a wedge til now."

"Oh, I didn't know what I was a-doing. I wish I may die this minute if I did. It was all on account of the whiskey and the excitement, I reckon. I never used a weepon in my life before, Joe. I've fought, but never with weepons. They'll all say that. Joe, don't tell! Say you won't tell, Joe— that's a good feller. I always liked you, Joe, and stood up for you, too. Don't you remember? You won't tell, will you, Joe?" And the poor creature dropped on his knees before the stolid murderer, and clasped his appealing hands.

"No, you've always been fair and square with me, Muff Potter, and I won't go back on you. There, now, that's as fair as a man can say."

"Oh, Joe, you're an angel. I'll bless you for this the longest day I live." And Potter began to cry.

"Come, now, that's enough of that. This ain't any time for blubbering. You be off yonder way and I'll go this. Move, now, and don't leave any tracks behind you."

Potter started on a trot that quickly increased to a run. The half-breed stood looking after him. He muttered:

"If he's as much stunned with the lick and fuddled with the rum as he had the look of being, he won't think of the knife till he's gone so far he'll be afraid to come back after it to such a place by himself — chicken-heart!"

Two or three minutes later the murdered man, the blanketed corpse, the lidless coffin, and the open grave were under no inspection but the moon's. The stillness was complete again, too.

Tom Sawyer Cover Art by Javier Andrada 2008

Cover art for a 2008 Spanish language adaptation of "Las aventuras de Tom Sawyer," the ninth and last of a series of abridged literary classics for children published by La Galera in Barcelona, Spain as the 9th and last in their "pequeños universales" series.

Mark Twain's novel was adapted to 36 pages by Xosé A. Neira Cruz with 18 illustrations (including the cover) by Javier Andrada.

I recognized the source material that Javier Andrada referred to when painting this illustration and include the 2 photos:

They were from the 1973 musical film adaptation of TOM SAWYER with Jeff East (left) as Huck Finn and Johnny Whitaker (right) as Tom Sawyer. The steamboat was the JULIA BELLE SWAIN, was renamed the "River Queen" for the movie.


With the exception of images credited to public institutions,
everything on this page is from a private collection.
Please contact for permission for commercial use.*

All captions provided by Dave Thomson, primary contributor and historian.