Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Illustrators of early frontier fiction:
J. N. Marchand

J. N. Marchand, Outing Magazine, 1906
J. N. (John Norval) Marchand (1875-1921) was born in Leavenworth, Kansas. After high school in St. Paul, Minnesota, he worked for the Minnesota Journal, and later was a staff artist for the New York World. A painter and sculptor, he provided numerous illustrations for magazines, such as Munsey's and Outing Magazine (see more examples here), and for as many as 35 books, mostly featuring western themes and subject matter.

Below are his illustrations for several novels set on the frontier. My favorite is the faro scene from Alfred Henry Lewis's Faro Nell and Her Friends, where players cluster in a hubbub around the dealer, and in the foreground is the relaxed figure of a cowboy in leather chaps and boots, smoking a cigarette, long legs crossed, his big hat beside him on the table.

Alfred Henry Lewis, The Sunset Trail (1905)

Thomas Nelson Page, Under the Crust (1907)

Hamlin Garland, Money Magic (1907)

Margaret Hill McCarter, The Price of the Prairie (1910)

Philip Verrill Mighels, The Furnace of Gold (1910)

Alfred Henry Lewis, Faro Nell and Her Friends (1913)

Margaret Hill McCarter, Winning the Wilderness (1914)

Shamelsss plug: For an in-depth survey of early writers of frontier fiction, read How the West Was Written (to obtain a copy, click here).

Further reading/viewing:

Image credits: Google Books

Coming up: Robert Randisi, ed., Livin' on Jacks and Queens


  1. I'm not too familiar with Marchand's work since he died early at age 46 in 1921. His work is excellent however.

  2. a very up close and personal feel to these. I like very much

  3. He has a great eye for horses as well as humans doing what they do.

  4. I enjoyed this look into the past for Marchand and the others work was done just after the turn of the century. I picked up ideas for dress and hat styles, open vests etc. Thanks, Ron, for showcasing some very fine art. The animal studies were often superb..

  5. I like the way he painted the horses' hooves coming at the viewer, almost like 3-D. Not familiar with his work at all or with these novels.