The Simple Story That Became A Classic
Children's books written and illustrated by
C. W. Anderson capture the relationship between horse and rider so successfully that his drawings have often been the first awakening children experienced to their love of horses. Even today, in this fast-paced age of hyper media and diminished attention spans, Billy and Blaze offers children a valuable respite for bruised imaginations.
For over 60 years the C. W. Anderson Estate has successfully managed the legacy of Billy and Blaze. Even though the prolific author wrote many other books on subjects from architecture to Greek sculpture, only the famous Billy and Blaze series weathered the changing moods of society and is still in print today. Imagine that!
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C. W. Anderson: The Horseman and the Artist
C.W. Anderson simply loved horses. In his paintings, his love for horses was so evident that even the casual observer could appreciate the noble animal. The many works he produced may have inspired others to become lifelong “horse people”.
During C.W. Anderson’s lifetime, his artwork hung in galleries and museums throughout the country. However, it was the illustrations in little picture books that took imaginative children into the woods on horseback. Slowly turning the pages, equestrian dreams to last a life time instilled a longing for the pleasures and independence of the brave little horseman of Billy and Blaze.
Clarence William Anderson (1891 – 1971) was born in Wahoo, Nebraska. Known professionally as C.W. Anderson, he was Andy to his family and friends — and he liked that just fine. His casual signature was taken from the back of a photograph he commissioned for his artist’s morgue. Every competent artist has pictures and references to confirm every detail in order to build that elusive believability into works of art or illustration.
Mr. Anderson was no exception.
There are many today who owe their professional acumen to
Mr. Anderson - artist, lithographer, and illustrator. An accomplished equestrian and respected judge of hunters and jumpers through the American Show Association, he was widely revered for his love all things horses. His deep knowledge of horsemanship provided the opportunity to build his reputation in horse lovers’ bookcases around the world.
Mr. Anderson studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and then moved to New York City to take up the business of being a freelance artist/illustrator. His work for hire is seen here in the October 4, 1924 Saturday Evening Post cover. He became a member of the Society of American Etchers where his love for black and white graphics and drawings flourished. The Billy and Blaze series represents only nine of over forty books he wrote and illustrated about horses.
He and his wife, the poet Madeline Paltenghi, moved to Mason, New Hampshire, where she grew up. The nostalgic atmosphere of his adopted hometown became the perfect haven for children’s stories.