Howard Berlin and Gregg Silvis forwarded this article about what looks like a great new exhibit at the Brandywine River Museum in Delaware, featuring the bank notes of famous illustrator and bank note engraver F.O.C. Darley. Thanks!
F.O.C Darley – a Philadelphia native who lived most of his life in Claymont – illustrated a short story for Edgar Allan Poe, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” for Washington Irving and several books for Charles Dickens.
He also drew the illustrations for Clement Clarke Moore’s “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter,” James Fenimore Cooper’s “The Pioneers” and Sylvester Judd’s “Margaret.”
But what will really catch your eye in The Magic Pencil of the Amazing F.O.C. Darley, the featured exhibit now running at the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, Pa., is the bank notes. Darley illustrated hundreds of bank notes for the financial institutions of the mid-1800s, who all issued their own currency, as well as bonds and stock certificates.
All of the bank notes in the exhibit are from the personal collection of Dr. Terry A. Bryan of Dover, who advises the Darley Society on which notes they should collect. Some notes have novel designs, and some repeat the same images.
“The sad thing is that he didn’t put his name on the bank notes, and there were others doing it, too,” said Gail Stanislow, the museum’s librarian and an enthusiastic member of the Darley Society. But Darley did keep meticulous records of his commissions, and that record book is at the American Antiquarian Society, a resource for collectors.
Curator Audrey Lewis said she hopes people will leave the exhibit understanding what a fabulous illustrator Darley was.
“He really isn’t known, but he was so popular in his time that the books were advertised as being ‘illustrated by Darley,’” Lewis said.
Some Delaware area trivia fans might recognize Darley as the artist who created a Santa Claus in 1855, and he illustrated “A Visit with St. Nicholas” in 1862, prior to Thomas Nast drawing his chubby Santas, but similar in dress and design.
Darley was born in Philadelphia in 1822 and was a self-taught artist. He was working as a clerk at the Philadelphia Dispatch Transportation Line when a magazine editor saw his drawings of people on the street and asked him to illustrate a story. Over time, his drawings were so well received that Poe personally picked him to illustrate “The Gold Bug” in 1943 for The Dollar Newspaper.
To read the complete article, see:
F.O.C. Darley's bank notes on exhibit at Brandywine River Museum
Wayne Homren, Editor
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