Original American Illustration 1902 Oil J H Betts Pyle Chadds Ford, PA. Mystery

Regular price $2,500.00


Oil Painting by American Illustrator. John Henderson Betts (1877-1902)

Oil, on board. Black & White. 11 x 16 inches.

Framed. 15-3/4 x 20-3/4 inches. Blackened oak frame. O'Hara's Picture Frames...Phila.

Farmer milking cow, two children watching, girl holding doll, stonewall, gate, wagon, barn, etc.

Signed, lower right: “John Henderson Betts / '02.”

The painting is in the original contemporary frame. There is an occasional minor abrasion, overall very good condition.


John Henderson Betts was one of Howard Pyle's more promising pupils at the Drexel Institute.

Betts work was shown in the first exhibition of work done in the School of Illustration (1897) and Pyle featured one of Betts’ pictures in his article, "A Small School of Art" (Harper’s Weekly, July 17, 1897).

Betts was also one of the ten students awarded scholarships to the first Summer School of Illustration at Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, in 1898.

Tragic death at the age of twenty-five.

Germantown Artist's Awful Death

John Henderson Betts met a shocking death on Monday by falling down the elevator shaft from the eleventh floor of the Real Estate Trust Building, southeast corner of Broad and Chestnut streets. Mr. Betts was hurrying to keep an appointment with his father, Colonel Charles M. Betts, a wholesale lumber dealer, whose office is on the twelfth floor of the building. The only other passenger in the car was Mr. William A. Messinger, of Clayton, Pa., who alighted at the eleventh floor. He says he heard the doors of the elevator shaft behind him. Almost immediately after that he heard a noise as if the doors had been reopened, and a scream which caused him to look around in time to see Mr. Betts go headlong over the edge of the platform through the doorway and into the shaft. Albert F. Gault, the boy in charge of the elevator, said that just as he started the car Mr. Betts said something to the effect that he had passed his floor, and clutched at the doors. The lever was at once reversed and the next thing Gault knew his passenger had disappeared. The body was taken to the Morgue, where it was identified soon after, when it was removed to 2034 Spring Garden Street, the residence of the deceased's father, where the funeral services were held on Thursday morning. Mr. Betts resided with his wife, to whom he was married in 1900, on Pomona Terrace, and was in his twenty-fifth year. He was a graduate of the Friends' Central School, and four years ago finished a course under Howard Pyle, the celebrated illustrator, at the Drexel Institute. He at once established himself as an illustrator became very successful, having his studio at 430 Walnut street. Among the most conspicuous books he has illustrated are Edward Robins' "Washington and Braddock's Campaign" and "An Iron Horse Chase; or, a Boy's Adventures in the Civil War." Mr. Betts also illustrated John Habberton's "Some Boy's Doings," and had only recently completed four illustrations in color for Mr. Robin's "A Boy in Early Virginia." He also illustrated Charles Heber Clarke's "Captain Bluitt," and was engaged at the time of his death in the illustration of a magazine story by Julien Gordon (Mrs. Van Rensselaer Cruger). He had also contributed illustrations to the Century, Scribner's and other magazines

Partial bibliography of books and magazines illustrated by John Henderson Betts


1898. Tomlinson, Everett. The Boys of Old Monmouth.

1899. Castlemon, Harry. Carl the Trailer. (The Pony Express Series).

1899. Norris, W. E. An Octave.

1900. Balfour, Andrew. Vengeance is Mine.

1900. Robins, Edward. With Washington in Braddock's Campaign.

1901. Robins, Edward. A Boy in Early Virginia: Or Adventures with Capt. John Smith.

1901. Clark, Charles Heber. Captain Bluitt, A Tale of Old Turley.

1901. Habberton, John. Some Boy's Doings.

1901. Merriman, Henry Seton. The Velvet Glove.

1902. Compton, Margaret. The Green Door.

1902. Swett, Sophie. The Young Shipbuilder.

1902. de Forest Shelton, Jane. The Salt-Box House.


Illustrations in The Saturday Evening Post

Dec. 7, 1901. Touched. By James Barnes.

Jan. 18, 1902. The Knight of the Spike-Sole Boots. By Holman F. Day.

Feb. 22, 1902. When O'Connor Draws His Pay. By Holman F. Day.

Mar. 1, 1902. When the Allegash Drive Goes Through. By Holman Day.

Nov. 1, 1902. The Passing of the Old-School Lawyer. By W. J. Calhoun.

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