Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Ships, Ahoy!

John R. Neill seems to have loved painting the ocean, seascapes, rolling waves, and, of course, boats. The Oz books gave him many chances to do so, too. Neill got many an opportunity to draw such things - from the large waves at the opening of Ozma of Oz (1907) when Dorothy and Billina are tossed overboard with a chicken coop, the many oceanic images from Rinkitink in Oz (1916) and on to Ruth Plumly Thompson's two sea-faring Oz titles Pirates in Oz (1931) and Captain Salt in Oz (1936) not to mention Thompson's Curious Cruise of Captain Santa (1926).

But Neill also enjoyed painting seascapes and sailboats for his own pleasure such as this handsome painting:

"Sailboats - Miami, '34" by John R. Neill  $1000.00

John R. Neill (American) 1877-1943
Watercolor on paper, signed "JNO R NEILL MIAMI 34"
Image size: 9" x 12.5"
Paper size: 9" x 12.5"

CLICK HERE to see this painting on our sales page

Here we have a beautifully atmospheric watercolor featuring two sailboats, perhaps a yacht race, by John R. Neill. The painting is slightly rippled - either from the original watercolor, or with age. This painting was framed for many years in the Neill home. It has faded a bit over time (see the darker bottom edge of the painting previously covered by a matte). 

The painting is signed at top left "JNO R NEILL Miami 34." 

The painting was probably adhered to a piece of illustration board at one time and since been removed. A large adhesion of peeled illustration board is present on the back of the watercolor paper - not adversely affecting the image.

Toward the end of 1933 the Neill family was feeling the pinch of the Great Depression. Neill's well-paying magazine work was drying up and his only steady income was from the Oz books. So Neill decided to rent out his New York City home (furnished with his antiques) and move his family to Florida for the Winter. They took a house on Palm Island (near Miami Beach). 

This is a lovely and affordable painting by John R. Neill. One can easily imagine this view from the deck of the Crescent Moon, looking out over the blue green waves of the Nonestic Ocean!

We have many other fine original drawings by John R. Neill on the website!

Come check it all out at

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