Frank C. Papé

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Illustrator Frank C. Papé at his desk, early 1920s

Frank Cheyne Papé, who generally signed himself Frank C. Papé (b. Camberwell, July 4, 1878 - d. Bedford, May 5, 1972) was an English artist and book illustrator. He studied at The Slade School of Fine Art, completing his studies circa 1902-04.[1] Papé was married to a fellow Slade student, illustrator Alice Stringer.

Papé's first known work, Naughty Eric, was published in 1902, but no known copies exist.[2] Update June 2014: One copy is held by The British Library and an original pen and ink illustration from one of the stories, 'The Magic Stone', has been found in Sussex, England.

Papé's earliest surviving illustrations are found in books for children from around 1908, including The Odyssey and The Pilgrim's Progress. During the second decade of the 20th Century he made extensive contributions to the following titles :

  • The Gateway to Spenser - Stories from the Faërie Queen (1910);
  • The Pilgrim's Progress (1910);
  • The Golden Fairy Book (1911);
  • The Ruby Fairy Book (1911);
  • The Diamond Fairy Book (1911);
  • Sigurd and Gudrun (1912);
  • Siegfried and Kriemhild (1912);
  • The Book of Psalms (1912);
  • As It Is In Heaven (1912);
  • The Story Without an End (1913);
  • Robin Hood and Other Stories of Yorkshire (1915); and
  • The Russian Story Book (1916).

By 1911, Papé was a highly successful book illustrator. World War I brought a decline in Britain's illustrated book market, affecting Papé's livelihood. He enlisted in the Royal Army Service Corps in 1915 and served on the Greco-Bulgarian front.[3]

Papé's career was revived in the early 1920s through his illustrations for a number of books by James Branch Cabell, which brought him new acclaim in the United States. These books from Biography of the Life of Manuel, issued by the London publishing house The Bodley Head, included Jurgen, A Comedy of Justice (1921, originally in a limited edition), The High Place, Something about Eve and The Cream of the Jest. These illustrations often wittily paralleled the double entendres in Cabell's writing. In the preface to the 1925 edition of his book Figures of Earth, Cabell praised the fitness of Papé's style for these works.[4]

The success of these editions led to the Bodley Head commissioning illustrations by Papé for books of Anatole France, including The Revolt of the Angels (1924) and Penguin Island (1925), in addition to those for the works of Rabelais. He also designed book covers for other authors, including Rafael Sabatini (The Life of Cesare Borgia, 1924).

Circa 1925, Papé began to provide illustrations for "Uncle Ray's Corner", a weekly children's column by Wisconsin writer Ramon Coffman that was syndicated in the United States by the Cleveland Plain Dealer. This collaboration, which lasted for several decades, led to a number of book illustration commissions, including Uncle Ray's Story of the Stone-Age People (1936) and The Child's Story of Science (1939).[5]

Papé was also sought after as a designer of bookplates, including one for Dennis Wheatley. He also created dust jacket illustrations for the first editions of several Wheatley novels, including The Devil Rides Out (1935), Strange Conflict (1941), The Haunting of Toby Jugg (1948), and To the Devil a Daughter (1953).

During the late 1930s, Papé's career faltered. Starting in 1945, he continued his collaboration with Ramon Coffman when Coffman launched Uncle Ray's Magazine; Papé contributed to this publication until the mid-1950s, first as art director, then as a staff artist.[6] By the end of the 1950s, his eyesight was in serious decline, and his only known work in the 1960s was a series of children's books for Oxford University Press. His last published work was a 1968 reprint of a 1933 illustrated version of Robinson Crusoe.[7]

A number of Papé's original drawings, together with some of his correspondence, is preserved at Stanford University.[8]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Richard Cobb, Something to Hold Onto, John Murray (Publishers) Ltd., London, 1988, p. 141
  2. ^ Imaginative Book Illustration Society Newsletter (IBIS) No. 4, Winter 199/97, p. 23
  3. ^ Cobb, Something to Hold Onto, p. 149, passim.
  4. ^ See " A Preface To These Pictures", James Branch Cabell (Robert. M. McBride, New York 1925)
  5. ^ IBIS Newsletter No. 4, Winter 1996/97, p. 31, passim
  6. ^ IBIS Newsletter No. 4, pp. 36-37
  7. ^ IBIS Newsletter No. 4, pp. 37-38
  8. ^ See record on the University's website Guide to the Frank Cheyne Papé Letters and drawings , ca. 1921-1931

References[edit]

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