Illustrator Louis Rhead dies after Long Struggle with a 30-pound Turtle


Louis Rhead was an American artist, author, and angler who grew up in Etruria, Staffordshire, England, who died on the 29th July in 1926. His death was somewhat unusual. He died from a heart attack at his retirement home in Amityville, Long Island. A portion of his obituary in The New York Times, Friday, July 30, 1926:

LOUIS RHEAD, ARTIST AND ANGLER, DEAD. Exhausted Recently by Long Struggle In Capturing a 30-pound Turtle.
…About two weeks ago Mr. Rhead set out to catch a turtle weighing thirty pounds which had been devastating trout ponds on his place, Seven Oaks. After the turtle was hooked, it put up a fight for more than half an hour. Although Mr. Rhead was successful in the end, he became exhausted. A short time later he suffered from his first attack of heart disease. Yesterday’s was his second.

During his youth, his exceptional artistic talent led him to study in Paris. He then worked for 9 years in England in the potteries as a ceramic artist at Minton, and later at Wedgwood. In 1879, Rhead gained a scholarship at the National Art Training School in London. After which, at the age of twenty-four, Louis emigrated to the United States.

Here he married his wife Catherine Bogart Yates and became a prominent poster artist in the U.S. During the poster craze of the early 1890s, Rhead’s poster art appeared regularly in Harper’s Bazaar, Harper’s Magazine, St. Nicolas, Century Magazine, Ladies Home Journal and Scribner’s Magazine. In 1895 he won a Gold Medal for ‘Best American Poster Design’ at the first International Poster Show in Boston.

By the late 1890s, the popularity of poster art declined and Rhead turned his skills to book illustration. Between 1902 and his death in 1926, Rhead illustrated numerous children’s books published by Harpers and others. Most notable among these were editions of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Robin Hood, The Swiss Family Robinson, Robinson Crusoe, The Deerslayer, Treasure Island, Kidnapped and Arabian Nights.

Explore some of his finest poster and illustration work below:

Poster by Louis Rhead, Advert, The Sun Gives Best Results

The Sun,Gives Best Results – Louis Rhead

Illustration by Louis Rhead, la femme au paon

La Femme au Paon – Louis Rhead

Illustration by Louis Rhead - Robin Hood, A map showing the situation of Royal Hunting Forests where Robin Hood Lived

Robin Hood, A map showing the situation of Royal Hunting Forests where Robin Hood Lived – Louis Rhead

Poster by Louis Rhead, The Quartier Latin - a magazine devoted to the arts

The Quartier Latin – Louis Rhead

Poster by Louis Rhead, The Century Magazine for June

The Century Magazine for June – Louis Rhead


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