F. O. C. Darley

Felix Octavius Carr Darley (Jun 23, 1822 – Mar 27, 1888) often credited as F. O. C. Darley, was an American painter in watercolor and illustrator, known for his illustrations in works by well-known 19th-century authors, including James Fenimore Cooper, Charles Dickens, Mary Maples Dodge, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Washington Irving, George Lippard, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Donald Grant Mitchell, Clement Clarke Moore, Frances Parkman, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Nathaniel Parker Willis

Darley was born on June 23, 1822, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania He was a self-taught and prolific artist who started out as a staff artist for a Philadelphia publishing company where he was given a wide variety of assignments

After he moved to New York, his work began to appear in magazines such as Harper’s Weekly and in books by various publishers Darley made 500 drawings for Lossing’s History of the United States Among his lithographic illustrations are those for Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, and some scenes in Indian life The swing and vigor of his style, his facility, and versatility and the high average merit of his numerous works, make him one of the most noteworthy of American illustrators

Darley signed a contract with Edgar Allan Poe on January 31, 1843, to create original illustrations for his upcoming literary journal The Stylus The contract, which was through July 1, 1844, requested at least three illustrations per month, “on wood or paper as required,” but no more than five, for $7 per illustration The Stylus was never actually produced but Darley provided illustrations for the final installments of the first serial publication of Poe’s award-winning tale “The Gold-Bug” later that year

In 1848, Darley provided the drawings for the first fully illustrated edition of Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle”, which was printed and distributed by the American Art-Union That same year, Darley also illustrated an edition of Irving’s The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent and then his Wolfert’s Roost in 1855 Over his career, he produced nearly 350 drawings for James Fenimore Cooper, later collected in a several-volume edition of Cooper’s novels printed from 1859 to 1861 In 1868 he published, after a visit to Europe, Sketches Abroad with Pen and Pencil His water color paintings of incidents in American history are full of spirit and his bank-note vignettes are also worthy of mention In 1851, he was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Honorary member, and became a full Academician in 1852

John Neal Hoover has written a scholarly article on Darley with a section on further reading

Darley died in 1888 at his home in Claymont, Delaware, and is buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts His Victorian mansion, located in Claymont, is now known as the Darley House and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974


Frontispiece for Washington Irving’s Diedrich Knickerbocker’s A History of New-York

Darley illustration from an 1862 print of A Visit From Saint Nicholas, by Clement Clarke Moore

Illustration for Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”

On The Trail Walters Art Museum Collection

Sherman’s March to the Sea Library of Congress Collection