James Marshall: Artwork

These humorous drawings were created by Marshall during his time at The New England Conservatory of Music and gifted to his high school friend, Kenneth Maples, circa 1964,  before a planned a trip to Europe. They feature scenes in classic Boston area locations including the MFA, New England Conservatory, Locke-Ober, Gainsboro Street, The Bar of the Other Side on Charles Street, Hayes-Bickford’s, The English Tea Room, Newbury Street, and Aladdin’s Cave. Some drawings include self-portraits, his bulldog Irene (whom he often featured in his books) and other curious animals and characters whose physical details nod to the style and types Marshall would develop in his later work.

Marshall studied viola at the Conservatory until a nerve damage in his hand caused him to leave. Not long after switching studies and graduating from Southern Connecticut State College in 1967, he began working as a freelance author and illustrator, and his first book for children, “Plink, Plink, Plink” by Byrd Baylor was published in 1970. Although he had no formal art training, Marshall illustrated more than 70 books before he died at the early age of 50 from AIDS-related causes. In 2007 the American Library Association posthumously awarded him the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal for a “substantial and lasting contribution” to American children’s literature.