Dr. Robert J. Wickenheiser on Terrance Lindall's Milton Illustrations
Though I couldn't be present for the Williamsburg Circle's first meeting, Terrance Lindall kept me informed of the proceedings through emailed photos and reports. Readers may recall that the Circle's central goal is to encourage younger generations to engage with the classics, including of course John Milton!
Our chairman is Dr. Robert J. Wickenheiser, the very man whom you see in the above photograph, book collector and Milton expert, among other things. I'll quote Terrance on the man as collector:
Last Saturday, we were distinctly honored to have one of the world's greatest book collectors, Dr. Robert J. Wickenheiser, . . . give a talk on how he developed his Milton collection, certainly the most comprehensive Milton collections in the world . . . . The April 14th event was special to him, and it was at my request that he made the nine hour journey by car with his daughter Kari and with many of his favorite rare Milton treasures to give his talk and meet with those of you who could attend . . . . [H]e is a sincere and dedicated scholar and also a humanitarian who loves people and loves to meet and talk to them. On top of that, he is a great scholar and leader. As I said in my introduction for his lecture, he is not just a leader. Leaders are multitudinous. Rather, Bob is a transformational leader. There are very few transformational leaders . . . . All of you know of famous book and art collections by wealthy men like J. P. Morgan and others. Very few book collectors are also major scholars. Bob is one of the few, or to my mind the only one of such stature. We were therefore very very honored to have this great man come to join us on that special day.I missed what must have been a wonderful talk on collecting books by and about Milton, but I received the notes, so I can perhaps at least report on Dr. Wickenheiser's opinion of Terrance's Milton illustrations, an opinion offered in the context of praise for such illustrators as William Blake and Gustav Doré:
And OH YES, then there is Terrance Lindall, of course, whom it has been my great fortune to know and also to have broadly represented in my Milton collection through a great many originals in a great many formats and style.High praise indeed! When I became aware of Terrance's Milton works, I was surprised, for I had first -- as a young man -- encountered his illustrations for the magazines Creepy and Heavy Metal, and those images were not of Adam and Eve!
Terrance, I cannot tell you how grateful and how proud I am to have your spectacular illustrations, which make you the greatest illustrator of Paradise Lost in our time and rank you among the very finest and most visionary of all time!
At the time that I first blogged on his Milton work, those illustrations were already a quarter-century in the past, and Terrance was involved mostly in curatorial work for the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center and theorizing on art in various essays published in a number of venues, having withdrawn from making art himself -- or so he said -- but within a couple of years of my blog posts on him and his work, he began to revive his interest in illustrating Milton.
I don't claim to have played any role in that, but I'm grateful to have been present, even if 12,000 miles away, in this time of his interest's revival!