This week we said goodbye to beloved illustrator and author Maurice Sendak. He holds a special place in the hearts of our Swann family as told through an anecdote relating to the birth of our President, Nicholas Lowry. Back in 1967, Sendak was on British television being interviewed about the recent English printing of Where the Wild Things Are when he suffered an on-air heart attack as the host was lambasting the book’s dark tone. As his only friends in London were the Lowry family who were living there at the time, a very pregnant Judith visited the hospital each day, keeping him company, bringing him copies of Henry James novels, and satisfying his gustatory cravings with the closest British ideal of bagels which he desperately missed being so far from Manhattan.
When Nicholas David Lowry entered the world in December, Sendak sent this congratulatory note and sketch. In following years, in his typically mordant fashion, he would always ask the Lowrys how old Nicho was, so that he could remember the date of his heart attack.
That baby with a crown is Swann’s President, Nicholas Lowry, as drawn by Maurice Sendak!
Swann will celebrate the life and work of the award winning artist when we offer the library of the late Reed Orenstein, book dealer, collector, and friend of both Swann and the prolific Sendak, on November 20th.
Many thanks to Christine von der Linn, Swann’s Art, Private Press, Illustrated & Children’s books specialist, for writing this lovely post!