The Crayon

W. J. Stillman and J. Durand, Publishers

General Description

Date: 1855-1861


◦ Casteras, Susan P. English Pre-Raphaelitism and its Reception in America in the Nineteenth Century. Rutherford: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1990.

◦ Mott, Frank Luther. A History of American Magazines, 1850-1865. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1938.

◦ Townsend, Francis G. The American Estimate of Ruskin, 1847-1860. Philological Quarterly 32 (Jan. 1953): 69-82.

Scholarly Commentary


The Crayon. New York: W.J. Stillman and J. Durand, 1855-1861

Owned and edited by William Stillman and John Duran, The Crayon was, in its own words, “a journal devoted to the graphic arts and the literature related to them.” Begun in January, 1855 as a weekly quarto of 16 pages, the journal became a 32-page monthly in 1856; yearly subscriptions could be had for 3 dollars. Mott calls it “the best art journal of the period”, observing that it was “broad in scope, handsomely printed” and “written with a certain authority” ( 2.193ff. ). Along with The New Path, The Crayon espoused the tenets of Ruskin and aestheticism, announcing in March of 1885, “we will endeavour to lead those whom we may influence to the perception of the Highest Beauty . . . and to prefer that which is true and earnest.” The Crayon republished a large amount of Ruskin's work that was not otherwise available in America, in addition to pieces by Bryant, Lowell, Aldrich, and Henry James, Sr. In financial trouble almost from its beginnings, the journal had run its course by 1861, and ceased publication in the midst of its eighth volume.

Not surprisingly, The Crayon kept the P.R.B. before the eyes of the American public, and usually gave their work high praise. WMR was the foreign correspondant for the journal from April 1855 until January 1857; other contributors include F.G. Stephens, J.L. Tupper, William Allingham, Charles Eliot Norton, and A.H. Clough. William Stillman was the driving force of The Crayon from its inception, until failing health led to his departure in 1857; he wrote much of the magazine during his tenure, and established its strong commitment to ideal aesthetics. DGR's poems were reprinted in 1858 from the Oxford and Cambridge Magazine, partially as an attempt by the American editors to link themselves to the revolutionary aesthetic spirit of that earlier Pre-Raphaelite publication.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: n1.c9.raw.xml