Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Parrish, Maxfield

Working name of Frederick Parrish (1870-1966), US fantasy illustrator and mural painter whose glowing colours, distinctive crisp-edged style and flat, stagelike compositions have influenced many modern fantasy illustrators. At the beginning of his working life he rejected his given name of Frederick in favour of his maternal grandmother's maiden surname, Maxfield. He worked in oils, rather in the manner of the Renaissance artists, drawing a meticulous outline design and laying on successive transparent glazes of colour. He was noted for a particularly rich, clear, almost luminous blue, known as the Maxfield Parrish Blue, which was built up in this manner. His knowledge of these traditional techniques was not, however, infallible, and shrinking of some paint layers with consequent cracking has occurred in various works.

MP studied under Howard Pyle and provided illustrations for magazines (e.g., Scribner's) and books of poems and fairytales. His best-known work includes illustrations for Kenneth Grahame's Dream Days (1902) and The Golden Age (1899), a series of advertisements for the Mazda Electric Company, and several murals on fairytale subjects for US hotels. However, the majority of his later paintings were produced specifically for reproduction in the form of fine-art prints or as calendars. [RT]

About the artist: Maxfield Parrish (graph 1973) by Coy Ludwig.

Frederick Parrish


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.