The Merry Piper
London: Longmans, Green and Company, 1925.
The Merry Piper is an exuburant and rambling adventure by Harold Gaze (1885-1962). Born in New Zealand, Gaze came to Melbourne in 1918 and stayed until 1921, producing a vast quantity of high quality work during a short space of time. He published four books in 1919 alone. Many of the plates that adorn his books were probably produced before the Melbourne publishing period, and a few clearly date as far back as 1910. One of the most enigmatic Australasian juvenile illustrators, little is known of his early life or artistic training.
Commercial publishing success in the United States eventually led Gaze to settle in Pasadena where he continued his dual career as a munitions expert, truly an odd blend of violence and sensitivity. Gaze is a confident and skilful watercolourist, a master of the opaque application technique that gives his work a feel of magical translucence. The plates and vignettes are reminiscent of the work of Arthur Rackham and Charles Folkard although Gaze's work seems to lack their underlying sinister qualities. Many images are bizarre, but never macabre. Solo shows of his fantasy paintings in Los Angeles earned him the appellation of ‘The Bubble Man’. It is said that Gaze worked with the Disney studios on Fantasia.
Work by Harold Gaze is held in the National Museum of American Illustration, the Pasadena Museum of History, and the San Diego Museum of Art, among others.
First English edition. Small quarto, original decorated cloth (spine rubbed), frontispiece and seven full-page colour plates, numerous line drawings, illustrated endpapers; localised tide-mark affects the top-edge margin of the frontispiece, otherwise this book is in very good order. Contemporary ownership inscription on half-title page.
Price (AUD): $525.00 other currencies