Image of the Week 6/10/16 - With Trumpet and Drum June 10 2016

With Trumpet and Drum

Parrish, Maxfield (1870-1967)


From Poems of Childhood by Eugene Field. New York. Charles Scribner’s Sons. 1904. 2.

Online Source:;view=1up;seq=23.


This charming picture was created by Maxfield Parrish (1870–1966) in 1904. It is one of the cover images for my forthcoming book, Painting America’s Portrait – How Illustrators Created Their Art. Later in his seven-decade long career, Parrish referred to himself as “a businessman with a brush.” When he produced this piece, however, he still just an illustrator.

With Trumpet and Drum was the first of eight illustrations Oarrish created for Charles Scribner’s Sons 1904 edition of Poems of Childhood by Eugene Field (1850–1895). Field was a journalist who eventually settled in Chicago. He is remembered today for the charming poems he wrote for children. A few them, like "The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat", and "the Dickey bird is singing in the Amphalula tree," have become classics.

            Maxfield Parrish was the perfect artist to illustrate Field’s enchanting little poems. He had burst onto the national scene a few years before after creating a three-panel mural for the Mask and Wig Club at the University of Pennsylvania. The theme he chose for his sensational mural was “Old King Cole and his fiddlers three.” Fairy tale characters in faraway places, like the ones he pictured in this mural, became the thematic cornerstones for the rest of his career. I expect it is fair to say that all the pictures he created for Field’s little book are now famous and still popular.

            The age of color illustration was in the process of being born when this colorized lithograph was produced. The artist and the publisher both deserve credit for being pioneers in this new technological age.

            Field’s poem, which was called With Trumpet and Drum, did not have anything particular connection to the 4th of July or celebrating America, but Parrish’s work provides a wonderful expression of the sentiments that surround this colorful holiday. I talking about Maxfield Parrish and his career in my biographical sketch of him at the back of my book. It will be published this fall by Commonwealth Books of Virginia. You can learn more about at


Jim Thompson

Illustration Art Enthusiast