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    Garth Williams. Illustration #11, Charlotte's Web.

    Garth Williams. Several original studies of Wilbur for illustration #11 (appearing on page 31) of Charlotte's Web, 1952: a lonely Wilbur cries. Pencil on paper. Three sheets measuring 10.875 x 8.5 inches, featuring seven sketches of Wilbur. Each sheet initialed by Williams. Fine.

    E. B. White was not happy with these initial studies of a weeping Wilbur. He wrote to Ursula Nordstrom, the legendary children's book editor at Harper & Brothers: "The right hoof still bothers me -- not because there is anything wrong about the way it is drawn but merely because of an optical accident which causes the foot to appear to be the snout on first glance. I think this is unfortunate, but not serious. It could easily be corrected by amputating the foot" (Peter F. Neumeyer, The Annotated Charlotte's Web, p. 30, note 13). Williams apparently agreed, as is evidenced in this passage of a letter from Ms. Nordstrom's secretary to Williams: "As you suggested, some of the minor corrections are being taken care of here. Miss Nordstrom has already arranged to have Wilbur's foot amputated" (letter to Williams from Mary Russell, dated June 30, 1952). From the Estate of Garth Williams.

    More Information: Peter F. Neumeyer. The Annotated Charlotte's Web. New York: HarperCollins, 1994.

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