Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Laughing Muse: Frontispiece Frivolity

I purchased this book recently, purely for the frontispiece illustration. Something about this muse that resonated with me, or with my own muse perhaps. Actually, anyone who has acknowledged a visit from their own muse will probably recognize this humorous trait that likely inhabits all muses. The book: The Laughing Muse, by Arthur Guiterman, Harper & Brothers, NY (1915). This is a collection of humorous, whimsical verse, most, if not all, of which appears to be pretty boring drivel. But there was that laughing muse holding the world in his hands, smiling down on us. It doesn't appear to be condescending. More of a laughing with us, not at us kind of look. Maybe he's employing a smile and the whole world smiles with you kind of posture. Maybe he's noticed that, as a planet, we have a few situations that could use a smile.

I'm curious about the artist, but can't quite make out his name. Looks like Hunter Clay, but not quite. Hopefully, I can pick up the trail on this illustrator and see where it leads. Right now, the trail is cold--nothing to smile about.


  1. Anonymous25/5/11 23:58

    The artist is John Cecil Clay. I only know this becasue I too bought the book many years ago for the same reason, and did a little research.

    Clay was particularly famous for a series of art deco prints portraying female faces in various flowers. You can often find them on eBay. I wonder where the original Jester as Fate print is now?...



  2. Many thanks for that information--both the artist's name and the title of the print! I had not revisited this post, or book, in a few years, but will now with this new information. I wonder how many others have purchased a used copy of this book just for that illustration? There's at least two of us. Thanks again for taking the time to comment!