COLLECTING KITE IMAGES: A TIMELESS PASTIME, KITE FLYING
All images from The Scott Skinner Collection
“Joux Aeriens D’Aujourd’hui,” (first name indistinguishable) Jeanjeans, from L’Illustration, January 1927.
“Jouets Aeriens D’Autrefois,” (first name indistinguishable) Jeanjeans, from L’Illustration, January 1927. The two of these images have the greatest variety of flying and wind-powered craft, including very interesting kites.
Here is a sampling of kite images from European and American sources, most from the early years of the 20th Century. I tried to choose images from children’s publications or from publications catering to young mothers. The images reinforce the notion that kite flying is universal: there are images f rom Switzerland, Germany, France, England, and the United States. Notable illustrators, a man considered the father of the Sunday Comics, advertisers – all came to kites and their positive message.
“Der Dritte im Bunde,” Marie Simm-Mayer (1851-1912).
“The Kite Season: Sending Up a Message,” Culmer Barnes, from Harper’s Young People magazine. I’ve always loved the composition of this image and the fact that it’s really all about the messenger being sent up the line, not the variety of kites. As I’m in the midst of producing six-sided kites, this is a great source, as it shows four different ones.
“Le Boa Volant” (the flying Boa?) from La Patrie Suisse (the Swiss Homeland). Artist and publication date unknown.
“The Real Business of Life Is Play,” Sarah Stillwell (1878-1939), from Harper’s Monthly magazine, 1903. Few images relate the joy of kite flying as well as this one. And girls can do it, too!
Horace Gaffron, Good Housekeeping magazine cover, March 1937. Horace Gaffron seems to have been “single- name” famous; he’s referred to simply as “Gaffron.” This is a wonderfully detailed illustration of kite flying of that time.
Buster Brown “Resolved” comic panel, R. F. Outcault (1863-1928), publication date unknown. Outcault has been called the “father of the American Sunday Comics” for his introduction of the Yellow Kid. He was the illustrator for the popular Buster Brown comic strip as well as the early Buster Brown shoe advertisements.
Perry E. Thompson, Lone Scout magazine cover, March 1920. Advertisers catered to boys’ interests – my favorite, The Eskimo Boomabird (”flying novelty works like a boomerang returning to the thrower in graceful, circling sweeps”).
“A hundred flew off with the string, and Peter clung to the tail,” Arthur Rackham, from Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, 1906. Like all Rackham illustrations, this one is rich in detail and is one of three featuring kites in the book.