The Gridley Wave #311 ~ August 2008
Alternate PDF Version
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J. Allen St. John and His Furniture
Feature discovered on the Web by William C. Wagner

Grandmaster of fantasy J. Allen St. John is best known for majestically illustrating ERB's creation of the wildly entertaining jungle sovereign, Tarzan. He began his artistic career as a young boy. At the age of eight he traveled with his mother to Paris to study art. His motherís father was Hilliard Hely, an artist of considerable talent who gained most of his artistic training in Paris. Much of St. Johnís earliest and fondest memories consist of spending time with the so-called "Bohemians" his mother gathered around her, and one of his greatest pleasures was strolling though the Louvre, the Luxembourg, and the other countless quaint and charming corners of the city where no one but the dreamers dared to venture. 

Several years later, St. John returned to the States to spend time with his father, who seemed to have plans other than drawing for his adolescent son. When the boy was sixteen, his father decided that he should train to become a merchant and arranged a partnership between himself and a man with sensible experience. Feeling as though his life was beginning to bind around him like an unwanted cage, the headstrong teenage rebelled, and his father had no other choice than to send him to his uncleís ranch in California, in hopes that his son would bend his defiant behavior towards something more constructive, like becoming a cowboy.

St. John daydreamed of the time he had spent in Paris and of how happy and content he felt simply sketching. While on a trip to Los Angeles, fate grabbed him by the wrist when he ran into Mr. Eugene Torrey, an accomplished artist, and at one time a student who studied at L'Ecole des Beaux-Arts, one of a number of influential art schools in France. St. John took a chance and tossed all other prearranged plans to the wind, deciding to study art under his newly found friend for the next three years. He toured the sights of California, gaining inspiration from the magnificence of Yosemite and drawing and painting the old Spanish missions. His artistic abilities advanced steadily.

It was in 1905 when publisher A. C. McClurg & Company forged a relationship with the young St. John. Their first collaboration was "The Face in the Pool." This was a fairy tale written and illustrated by St. John which never quite worked out to any advantage. McClurg hired him again in 1915 to provide black & white chapter headings for the second Tarzan novel, The Return of Tarzan. The third novel of the series, The Beasts of Tarzan, featured St. Johnís art for the color wraparound dust jacket, black & white frontispiece, title page illustrations, and an additional 38 pen & ink drawings to accompany the text. Over the next twenty years, a new Tarzan novel was produced annually featuring St. Johnís art. He illustrated other McClurg books, as well as the occasional book for Rand McNally, in addition to teaching at the Chicago Art Institute and the American Academy of Art.

In 1980, Russ Cochran was in Chicago and visited St. Johnís former studio, then occupied by Jim Romero, who gave him a tour and showed him several St. John paintings as well as the ornate carved table and chair. After some negotiation, Cochran purchased a large painting, as well as the ornate 1900-1910 table and chair believed to have been St. Johnís writing desk. The table is high oak flat-topped, with quarter-cut oak top and finger-fluted molded edge with bowed drawers in the base. The drawer at the bottom has a foliate "C" scroll carving with large masks and sabre legs ending in claw feet, and a center shelf to hold books. The accompanying mahogany chair has scroll-carved ears and open carved center cartouch base, with a serpentine "X" stretcher and carved legs. At the time of this writing (January 18, 2008), the St. John table and chair are being auctioned by Hakeís Americana & Collectibles. 

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The Paintings of J. Allen St. John
New from Vanguard
The long-awaited Paintings of J. Allen St. John book from Vanguard will premier at the San Diego Comic-Con July 24-27 and at Denvention 3, the World Science Fiction Convention in Denver August 6-10. Authors Stephen D. Korshak and J. David Spurlock will be on hand to autograph. 

The bulk shipment of the St. John book will arrive at the port of New York on July 30. Advance orders will be mailed about a week later, and the book should be in stores (both brick-and-mortar and online) around August 15. The genuine leatherbound, suede-slipcased, gold-gilt, limited ULTRA edition signed by the late Jack Williamson, Danton Burroughs, and other contributors will be available exclusively from Vanguard shortly thereafter.

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Tarzan Musical Sets
Record In Holland
On March 27, 2008, Tarzan the Musical celebrated one year on stage, making it the most successful musical in Dutch history. It won the Studio 22 Music Award for best musical, and will open in London later this year. 

The one millionth ticket has been sold, and the cast album has gone to gold. 

Additional songs were added and Chantal Janzen, the actress playing ďJane,Ē received an extended contract. Tarzan actor Ron Link (left) broke his hand and is recuperating at home. 

(Reported by Ron de Laat of The Netherlands)
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From The San Diego Reader, 2007
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 Signet reissues a mass-market edition of Tarzan of the Apes this month
with a new introduction by Michael Meyer.

 
The Gridley Wave #311 ~ August 2008
Published monthly for the Burroughs Bibliophiles as a supplement to The Burroughs Bulletin. Edited by George T. McWhorter,
The Edgar Rice Burroughs Memorial Collection, William F. Ekstrom Library, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292.
© Copyright 2008, The Burroughs Bibliophiles. E-mail: george.mcwhorter@louisville.edu. Telephone: (502) 852-8729.

Burroughs Bibliophiles

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