George Blake's Letter
Regarded as one of the great American Realists of the nineteenth century, Winslow Homer is known primarily for his large body of works in oil and watercolor. However, he also had an early career as a freelance illustrator, making drawings for wood engravings that were reproduced in mass-circulation periodicals such as Harper’s Weekly. In 1998, the Brooklyn Museum received a generous gift of more than 250 wood-engraved illustrations by Homer from Harvey Isbitts.
Homer was commissioned to create five illustrations for the serialized novel, Susan Fielding. Rooted in contrasts between city and country, wealth and poverty, virtue and duplicity, the novel is full of romantic intrigue. Orphaned and impoverished, Susan comes under the care of her elderly Uncle Adam in Brittany. Here, she reads a letter from her true love, George Blake, in which he entreats her for one final meeting before she marries her fiancé Tom Collinson. The novel ends happily, however, with Susan and George destined to be together because Collinson's shady past is revealed. Of the five illustrations Homer produced for this novel, only this one approaches his work in oils in terms of its pictorial strength and depth of feeling. Indeed, it bears striking similarity to a number of his canvases depicting solitary women dating from the early 1870s.
Sheet: 9 x 5 5/8 in. (22.9 x 14.3 cm)
Image: 6 1/2 x 4 1/2 in. (16.5 x 11.4 cm)
Frame: 20 x 15 x 1 1/2 in. (50.8 x 38.1 x 3.8 cm) (show scale)
Lower left, below image: "Drawn by Winslow Homer."
Gift of Harvey Isbitts
Illustration for Annie Edwards's "Susan Fielding," from The Galaxy, January 1870, vol. XI, p. 258, frontispiece
This item is not on view
Winslow Homer (American, 1836-1910). George Blake's Letter, 1870. Wood engraving, Sheet: 9 x 5 5/8 in. (22.9 x 14.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Harvey Isbitts, 1998.105.142 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1998.105.142_bw.jpg)
overall, 1998.105.142_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
No known copyright restrictions
This work may be in the public domain in the United States. Works created by United States and non-United States nationals published prior to 1923 are in the public domain, subject to the terms of any applicable treaty or agreement.
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this work. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form
The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties, such as artists or artists' heirs holding the rights to the work. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act.
The Brooklyn Museum makes no representations or warranties with respect to the application or terms of any international agreement governing copyright protection in the United States for works created by foreign nationals.
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact email@example.com
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.