Friday, July 2, 2010

Vintage Dinosaur Art: E. Boyd Smith

Elmer Boyd Smith was a children's book author and illustrator who covered a lot of ground - from fanciful nursery rhymes to Bible stories to history to nature. He got his start in publishing around the turn of the last century, after spending time in Europe studying art.

Among these was the title So Long Ago, which was published in 1944, a year after Boyd's death. The illustrations are remarkable, vibrant compositions of worlds teeming with prehistoric life. Unlike other illustrators, Boyd wasn't content to ape the work of Knight; he went wild, imagining almost comical scenarios, like the first one below, in which an unruly pack of theropods tries to assail a sauropod.


You'll also notice two human characters nearly lost in the shuffle, which I assume to be the narrators of the story, Dr. Peter and Bobby Reed. I was bummed out to find that Google Books doesn't have a single of Boyd's books available to preview. Just means I'll have to hunt them down, one by one.


This prehistoric sea-life illustration drives me nuts. I could stare at it for hours.


These deserve to be framed. Heaping spoonfuls of gratitude go to Norman Felchle for contributing these illustrations and many more to the Vintage Dinosaur Art pool. I'll be featuring more of his contributions on future posts.

More E. Boyd Smith: Von Shollywood featured this title last year, and has a scan of the dust jacket. Artnet features a few pieces from his European days. Thanks to a comment on a recent Tet Zoo post, I was able to find these pictures. Or just buy this print for my buddy Zack, who is a huge fan of the Prose Edda.


  1. I'm especially impressed that he seems to have included a Volaticotherium (bottom pic, top right), given that it was only described in 2006.

  2. I remember this book from when I was a kid back in the early 1960s.


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