N.C. Wyeth, Anthony and Mr. Bonnyfeather

N.C. Wyeth: Anthony and Mr. Bonnyfeather (c. 1934) Oil on canvas;
Anthony and Mr. Bonnyfeather
c. 1934
Oil on canvas;
Credit Line
Museum purchase with funds provided by Mrs. Catherine M. Kuch in memory of her son Reverend Bruce Southmayd Marks, 1987
40 1/4 x 31 1/4 in.

Newell Convers' (N.C.) Wyeth became one of America's foremost illustrators, especially renowned for his images which accompanied some of the most popular novels of all time, including Kidnapped, The Black Arrow, Robin Hood, The Last of the Mohicans, Westward Ho, Robinson Crusoe, The Deerslayer, and many, many more. Anthony and Mr. Bonnyfeather is an image used as the frontispiece of Vol. I of the Farrer & Rinehart, Inc. 1934 edition of the novel Anthony Adverse by author Hervey Allen. Although somewhat forgotten today, the novel was in its time hugely popular, so much so that Hollywood made it into a blockbuster movie in 1936, starring Frederick March, Olivia de Havilland, Edmund Gwenn, Claude Rains, Akim Tamiroff, and Ralph Morgan.

Allen's story, which runs more than 1200 pages, takes place in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and has endless twists and turns of fate as it follows a peripatetic soldier of fortune from birth to the grave, and throughout Europe and North America. Here Anthony is seen with his maternal grandfather, Mr. Bonnyfeather, upon the ramparts of Casa da Bonnyfeather in Leghorn, Italy, hoisting an unseen flag of England. Beyond its interest as a depiction of an episode from Anthony's life, and as a fine example of the artist's artistic talents, the painting has added meaning, as it is likely that the model for the figure of Anthony is none other than N.C.'s son, Andrew Wyeth.

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