Legend of Sleepy Hollow illustration

Description (Brief):

Black and white print after an etching. Illustration from the Legend of Sleepy Hollow showing Ichabod Crane on horseback fleeing the "Headless Horseman" in terror through the woods.

Description (Brief)

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, a short story by celebrated American author Washington Irving, was first published in 1820 without illustrations in “The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.” Best known for his popular stories of Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Irving achieved acclaim in Europe and the U.S. over the course of his successful writing career. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow was included in “The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent” while Irving was living in Europe. Thus, he was one of the earliest American authors to survive merely on his writing. Irving’s stories have remained an emblem of American culture as they were some of the first short stories that aimed to entertain rather than educate. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow story inspired artists to create beautiful illustrations like the one included in this print.

Description (Brief)

The gothic story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow tells of a man named Ichabod Crane who comes to Tarrytown, New York, known in the story as Sleepy Hollow, as a teacher. As he tries to win the heart of the beautiful Katrina Van Tassel, he ultimately finds himself being chased by the village’s feared legend, the Headless Horsemen. The story ends with a smashed pumpkin being found in the place where Ichabon disappeared, never to be seen again. This story is particularly popular around Halloween.

Description (Brief)

This print illustrates Ichabod Crane fleeing the Headless Horseman, whose body is angled in such a way to make him appear headless. Ichabod’s expression shows his fear, which matches the fear in his white horse’s eyes. The chase takes place in a dark and desolate wood. The Headless Horseman is just behind Ichabod, so it is clear that this takes place just before Ichabod was overtaken.

Description (Brief)

Sarony, Major, & Knapp was one of the largest lithographic firms at the end of the 19th and the early of the 20th centuries. However, before it achieved this success it started out small in 1843 when Napoleon Sarony and James P. Major joined together to start a business. Later in 1857, Joseph F. Knapp joined the company making it Sarony, Major, & Knapp. At the time that this was printed, Knapp was not a part of the business, so it was just Sarony & Major.

Description (Brief)

Felix O. C. Darley (1822-1888), the artist behind the twelve best-known illustrations for The Legend of the Sleepy Hollow, is considered one of America’s best illustrators. The publisher was the American Art Union, (1839-1857) a subscription organization created to educate the public about American art and artists while providing support for American artists. For $5.00 members would receive admissions to the gallery showing, a yearly report, and an engraving of an original work, as well as any benefits each chapter might provide. Two special editions of the story, each with a set of six of Darley’s illustrations were published; the special edition including this illustration was published in 1850. This print has been rebound with the five others at the back of the book and the cover is incorrectly from the earlier Rip Van Winkle edition published for the American Art Union, however the title page and text are of Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

Date Made: 1849

Copyright Holder, Publisher: American Art UnionMaker: Darley, Felix Octavius CarrSarony & Major

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: New York, New York City

Subject: HorsesDepicted: Horseback RidingSubject: CostumeChronology: 1840-1849


See more items in: Home and Community Life: Domestic Life, Art, Peters Prints, Domestic Furnishings


Exhibition Location:

Related Publication: Darley, Felix O.C.. Illustrations of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Peters, Harry T.. America on Stone, Irving, Washington. Rip Van Winkle & The Legend of Speepy Hollow

Credit Line: Harry T. Peters "America on Stone" Lithography Collection

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: DL.60.2429Catalog Number: 60.2429Accession Number: 228146

Object Name: lithographObject Type: Lithograph

Physical Description: paper (overall material)ink (overall material)Measurements: image: 8 1/2 in x 11 in; 21.59 cm x 27.94 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746b4-feb3-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_324762

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.