Wednesday, December 24, 2014

178. A Small Nativity Drawing by Charles Ricketts

The early published drawings of Charles Ricketts usually depict biblical or historical scenes. Five of those appeared in a children's book with Christian quotations in 1888: Our Father's Promises. There were also ten drawings by Geo. C. Haité, who edited the book as part of the 'St Pauls Series', published by Griffith, Farran & Co. One of Ricketts's drawings depicts a nativity scene, tucked away in a corner of the image.

Charles Ricketts, untitled drawing in Our Father's  Promises (1888)
The subject of the illustration is an outdoor winter scene. In a garden with a lantern, flower pots and a bare tree, two girls and a boy form a close group. They are playing the three magi. One of the girls holds a staff with the six-pointed star that symbolizes the star of Bethlehem and the journey of the magi in search of Christ.  

Charles Ricketts, untitled drawing [detail] in Our Father's  Promises (1888)
A small separate scene in the lower right corner depicts the adoration of the magi with Maria and child, measuring only 32 by 51 mm. Due to the format of the reproduction in Our Father's Promises it is sketchy - the original drawing will have been larger, as was the custom. However, the major figures are easily discernible, as is the donkey in the stable behind mother and child. 

Ricketts's signature is to the left of the small nativity scene. Please consider this blog as our season's greetings.