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The Isabel Hawxhurst Hall Rubaiyat

June 29, 2014

Bob Forrest has sent us this interesting contribution.  Please note his request for information at the end.

Fig.13One of my favourite – and one of the rarest – illustrated editions of The Rubayat is that published by the Alice Harriman Company of New York in 1911, and illustrated with charcoal-drawings by Isabel Hawxhurst Hall. The layout of the book, and indeed the style of the illustrations, clearly owes much to the more famous Vedder edition, and yet Hall’s illustrations are both skilled and fascinating in their own right. Though information about Harriman is quite readily available, there seems to be little available about Hall. This is a pity, as one of the few references to her that I have come across (an article entitled “Young Brooklyn Girl Wins Fame with Her Omar Illustrations”, published in the Pittsburgh Press, November 12, 1911) makes it clear that she was only 23 years old when she did her remarkable illustrations. I have been unable to find anything else illustrated by her, nor any reference to any subsequent career as an artist (her real passion was apparently oil-painting.)

Fig.10So, what became of her? There is a diary of hers preserved at the Brooklyn Historical Society, but I regret to say that, living in the UK, I have not yet been able to pop in and see it, so that I am hoping that someone reading this may already have done so, or live near enough to do so now – I would be more than happy to pay for photocopies / scans of it. Also, of course, I would be glad to hear from anyone who has managed to unearth any other information about this remarkable young artist.

For those interested:    The cited Pittsburgh Press article can be found online at: RUbAAAAIBAJ&sjid=80gEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6605,3203692

The Hall diary at the Brooklyn Historical Society is referenced with a few details in:





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