[Geysers] Identity of Hildebrand

Janet Chapple jochapple at earthlink.net
Wed Mar 7 20:25:44 PST 2007

Thanks for sharing this, Scott. I love digging out the historical 
things about Yellowstone, too, and relish any information about the 
really early pictures and articles. Artists are notoriously bad 
spellers--but misspelling their own name? Probably slipped by an 

And I've learned that looking for slight misspellings of names 
sometimes pays off. I was trying to find out about a Belgian who 
visited the park in 1883 and finally realized his name was spelled 
Leclercq & not Leclerq.

Janet Chapple

On Mar 7, 2007, at 10:03 AM, TSBryan at aol.com wrote:

> For 2 or 3 years, I have been trying to learn the identity of an 
> artist/engraver whose name appears on an 1874 engraving of Crested 
> Pool and Castle Geyser. The original is titled "The Great Geyser." It 
> is clearly based on a photograph by William Henry Jackson. The 
> geyserite formations are accuarately rendered but the scale is highly 
> exaggerated, in that a tiny little man is shown next to Crested Pool 
> at a scale that implies that Crested is at least 100 feet in diameter. 
> (In one copy of the picture, Crested is 3.6 inches across, the man is 
> 0.2 inch tall.)
> Note that I also have copies of three other engravings that have 
> similar exaggerations of scale. Two of these are by "E. Riou" from 
> 1874, and one is by "W. J. Linton SC" dated 1872. We'll get back to 
> those gentlemen.
> As best as I can make it out, the name of the engraver, capital 
> lettering at the bottom right, reads "T HILDEBRAND". I have contacted 
> numerous experts and nobody could identify such a person.
> A few days ago, when I was yet again Googling for "Hildebrand", I came 
> across some engravings by "Hildibrand". A couple of these show 
> trappers and their camps in Alaska and are dated 1867. Ah, ha. I 
> quickly found that this Hildibrand guy was Henri Theophile Hildibrand 
> -- and about as quickly, I found that obviously this same guy also 
> spelled his name Hildebrand. And I learned that Hildibrand/Hildebrand 
> produced engravings for the first editions of several Jules Verne 
> works, most notably 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Around the World in 
> 80 Days, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and etc.
> But Oh! The original art was not done by Hildibrand, but by Edouard 
> Riou. Hildibrand was only the engraver of the art for publication.
> As noted above, I already have had two illustrations listed as by E. 
> Riou. Although Hildebrand's name does not appear on either of them, 
> I'll just bet he engraved them for Riou.
> Bearing on this are two additional items. One is an illustration of an 
> elephant from Around the World in 80 Days. It bears both Riou's name 
> in script at lower left and "HILDBRAND" (with no "i" or "e") in 
> capital lettering identical to that on "The Great Geyser" at lower 
> right. Yay.
> According to A. B. Evans (1998, "The Illustrators of Jules Verne's 
> _Voyages Extraordinaires_", Science-Fiction Studies, vol. XXV, no. 2, 
> p. 241-270), engraver Hildibrand/Hildebrand (it is spelled both ways 
> in the article ! ) sometimes embellished the original artwork of Riou.
> I still have the question as to just where all this art originally 
> appeared. I _think_ it was probably in a French work titled _Le Monde 
> Illustre_, either written by or edited by Paul Marcoy and published in 
> either 1874 or 1875.
> Henri Theophile Hildibrand was born in either 1824 or 1829 -- that's 
> another thing that seems uncertain -- and so far I've found no date of 
> death.
> Edouard Riou was born in 1833, died in 1900. The other engravings I 
> have by him are "The Cave" (actually, Grotto with tiny little people 
> near and on the formation) and "Old Faithful Geyser" (again, a 
> ridiculously huge set of formations per the scale of the people 
> climbing it). The illustration of "The Cave" later appeared in other, 
> American works, re-done and slightly modified by other artists, and 
> identified as Grotto; examples are John Gibson, 1887, _Great 
> Waterfalls, Cataracts, and Geysers_, and F. K. Warren, 1892, 
> _California Illustrated, including a Trip through Yellowstone Park_.
> Finally, that other person. Identified as "The Giant Geyser", this 
> engraving was done by William James Linton. It appeared in 
> _Picturesque America, or the Land We Live In_, edited by William 
> Cullen Bryant and published in 1872. Like the others, this is clearly 
> based on a Jackson photo but includes the addition of a tiny little 
> man running pell-mell away from Giant Geyser in eruption.
> Interesting stuff. At least, I had fun getting this stuff figured out 
> (apparently, I think).
> Scott Bryan
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