Published in Scribner’s Monthly, vol. XV, pp. 3, 755-767. Pen and ink and wash on paper, 5 signed by the artist (“W.M.L.” or “Laffan” or W.M. Laffan, del.”). Various sizes (6 x 6 inches and smaller). Sport in Rural Michigan : ‘Deer Hunting on the Au Sable’. Editorial markings on verso or in margins, two drawings laid down on board. Fine. Item #252791
Irish-born newspaperman William M. Laffan (1848-1909) worked on San Francisco and Baltimore papers before coming to write for the New York Sun. He became the publisher of the Sun in 1884, and in 1897 he purchased the paper with backing from J.P. Morgan. In later life he was interested in Chinese porcelain and complied the catalogue of Morgan’s collection.
This group of deft and detailed illustrations, recording camp scenes, hunting incidents, and outdoor vistas, was drawn by Laffan for his article “Deer Hunting on the Au Sable” (Scribner’s Monthly, vol. XV, no. 6, 1878, pp. 753-767), which recounts a successful hunting trip in northern Michigan with a party organized by John Erwin of Cleveland, with a bag of 23 deer, or, as the final illustration records, “a ton and a half of venison”. Laffan took a trophy buck acknowledged by his fellow hunters as the best of the trip.
Thompson’s (small panorama of an inn amongst the woods) p. 755
“It must be the climate” (sportsman with rifle and deer, woodsman with ax) p. 756
Camp Erwin (wagon approaching a forest clearing with cabin and log stables) p. 757
“A tale of Love, Jealousy and Death” (two sportsmen examining skulls of two bucks with tangled horns) p. 759
“Rather Unexpected” (hunter climbed out from under a rotten tree trunk) p. 761
“A Young Backwoodsman” (outdoor portrait of a young woodsman with his dog, a deer at his feet) p. 764
“A Clean Shot” (hunter shooting at a poised buck) p. 764
“The Beauties of Rafting” (narrow log raft on the woodland river, having just passed under a fallen tree) p. 766
“A Ton and a Half of Venison” (departing wagon heavily laden with deer) p. 767
With one unused drawing, “Straining with the Dogs” (one sportsman gutting a deer, another holding four hounds straining at their leashes), and one drawing by Laffan for an earlier article in Scribner’s, “Canvas-backs and Terrapins”: “The Nefarious Pot-hunter”, a night-time scene of hunters jack-lighting ducks (published on p. 3 in the first number of the same volume).
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