Wilbur’s First Portrayal
When adults read books, their imaginations conjure imagery of characters therein. But for children, characters best come to life when rendered with illustrations to help guide their formidable minds.
It was Alice in Wonderland, after all, who found illustration-less books, as a child, preposterous, when she said,
“What is the use of a book, without pictures or conversations?”
In our December auction, we are auctioning an original illustration and first depiction of E.B. White’s most famous character, Wilbur, from the beloved classic “Charlotte’s Web.”
Illustrator Garth Williams’ hand-drawn sketch of Wilbur, the pig protagonist from E.B. White’s ”Charlotte’s Web” is drawn in pencil, and Williams initials ”GW” to the lower right. With two variations of the famous pig, the endearing portrayal Williams’ used has been repeated in countless versions of the book, and films, too.
Williams was something of an 20th Century artistic legend, illustrating 97 books by the time her turned 81. From Stuart Little to creatures, fairies, animals, there was nowhere Williams’ imagination wouldn’t go when he set down to draw and bring countless characters to life.
Williams once said books have the power to influence children. Thus, he used his illustrations to try to “awaken something of importance . . . humor, responsibility, respect for others, interest in the world at large.”
We’ve auctioned Williams’ illustrations in the past, like this signed draft — done in pencil, watercolor and ink — of his cover illustration for ”Emmett’s Pig.”
His endearing renderings are timeless, and as fellow illustrator Henry Cole once said, are full of “sensitivity, warmth, humor, and intelligence.”