N.C. Wyeth's "Treasure Island" Paintings Reunited After 100 Years

  • "One more step, Mr.  Hands," said I, "and I'll blow your brains out!" Illustration by N.C.  Wyeth for the 1911 edition of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island.  Collection of New Britain Museum of American Art.

    "One more step, Mr. Hands," said I, "and I'll blow your brains out!" Illustration by N.C. Wyeth for the 1911 edition of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. Collection of New Britain Museum of American Art.

    Wikipedia Commons

After a century, 16 of the iconic "Treasure Island" paintings created by N.C. Wyeth as illustrations for Robert Louis Stevenson's beloved novel are shown together for the first time.

Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, Penn., has reassembled these memorable images of pirates, swashbucklers, and high seas adventure in an exhibition celebrating the 100th anniversary of Wyeth's illustrations for the classic tale.

The 1911 edition of "Treasure Island" was a critical and popular success, establishing Wyeth among the period's foremost illustrators. His publisher, Scribner's, paid him $2,500, enough to buy 18 acres along the Brandywine River Valley that became home to generations of Wyeths, and their studios.

Scribner's displayed the paintings in the windows of their New York bookstore, selling several. The majority are now owned by the Brandywine River Museum and the Wyeth family, along with two at the New York Public Library, one in a private collection, and one owned by the New Britain Museum of American Art in Connecticut. A fire destroyed one painting from the series in 1952.

On public display together for the first time in 100 years, the exhibition shows Wyeth at the peak of his artistic powers with memorable images from the tale.

The exhibition also presents some Treasure Island productions created by the many illustrators, theater and film directors and even digital application designers who have been influenced by Wyeth's imaginative vision.     

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