Illustration by Valenti Angelo for Heritage Press edition of The House of the Seven Gables, 1935

Dr. John L. Idol, Jr. explains in his lecture delivered at the Turner-Ingersoll House on September 14, 2000, "No doubt the most celebrated illustrator asked to prepare a set of pictures for The House of the Seven Gables was Italian-born, California-raised, Valenti Angelo,whose colored drawings appeared in the Heritage Club edition in 1935. His oval-shaped and colored illustrations stand at the head of each chapter, each illustration meant to convey the principal mood or event in the chapter it introduces. Here there is no minuteness of detail, nothing resembling Dutch painting at its most realistic. Rather almost ghost-like figures and indistinct structures bring out the gravity and melodrama of Hawthorne's blend of New England Gothicism and the emerging elements of realism in American fiction. One is inclined to say of these broad strokes and the melancholy feelings evoked is that they haunt the book. One is also inclined to say that Angelo wanted to project in his illustrations those qualities which Hawthorne associated with the romance as a distinct form of literature. Here are words that Angelo must have seized upon as he read the romance: If [the writer] think fit he may so manage his atmospherical medium as to bring out or mellow the lights, and deepen and enrich the shadows, of the picture. (xv) Angelo's illustration, in their dark hues of reddish-brown and sage and their lighter hues of yellow and blue, never let us forget that we are reading another of Hawthorne's Americanized Gothic tales."
(with special thanks to Dr. John L. Idol Jr.) close window
citation: http://www.hawthorneinsalem.org/images/fullpageimage.php?name=MMD132