Eustace Tilley is of course a fictional character — commonly referred to as The New Yorker‘s mascot. There is a suggested backstory to Tilley himself in Lee Lorenz’s Art of The New Yorker: 1925-1995; there are best guesses elsewhere as to why Rea Irvin (see below) decided to submit the cover to Harold Ross to adorn Ross’s inaugural issue and there are probably just as many best guesses as to why Ross chose to use Irvin’s submission.
Following the advent of the New Yorker, it didn’t take long for a Tilley stand-in to show up; a New Yorker in-house publication featured Harold Ross as Tilley and Alexander Woollcott as the butterfly hovering at Tilley’s eye-level. Over the years there have been innumerable parody New Yorkers (Ink Spill has a selection here). But how many real people, after Harold Ross, have stood in for Tilley on a New Yorker cover or on another magazine’s cover.
If you search online you’ll see perhaps hundreds of Tilley stand-ins, some on the cover of The New Yorker itself, many submitted to the New Yorker as part of a contest, many just for personal amusement (Tilley as Disney’s Goofy, or Mad’s Alfred E. Neuman, Dr. Seuss’s Cat In The Hat, etc., etc.) But here I’m concentrating on published covers featuring real people (and one real dog) as Tilley. I’ve found just a few (please let me know of others that fit this category…update: my thanks to Attempted Bloggery for reminding me about the Eustace Clinton/Obama cover ):
First the real deal: Rea Irvin’s classic cover:
The New Yorker‘s in-house issue featuring Harold Ross.
Renata Adler as Tilley on Manhattan, Inc. November 1986
New York magazine, July 20, 1982, with Tina Brown as Tilley
The New Yorker’s 75th anniversary issue, February 21, 2000, with a William Wegman dog as Tilley (and one of his dogs standing in for the butterfly)
“Eustace Tillarobama” (credited to Rea Irvin and Seth) February 11, 2008
And that brings us to the March 6, 2017 The New Yorker, with Barry Blitt’s “Eustace Vladimirovich Tilley” and Donald J. Trump as the butterfly
Rea Irvin’s entry on Ink Spill‘s “New Yorker Cartoonists A-Z”:
Rea Irvin (pictured above. Self portrait above from Meet the Artist) *Born, San Francisco, 1881; died in the Virgin Islands,1972. Irvin was the cover artist for the New Yorker’s first issue, February 21, 1925. He was the magazine’s first art editor, holding the position from 1925 until 1939 when James Geraghty assumed the title. Irvin became art director and remained in that position until William Shawn succeeded Harold Ross. Irvin’s last original work for the magazine was the magazine’s cover of July 12, 1958. The February 21, 1925 Eustace Tilley cover had been reproduced every year on the magazine’s anniversary until 1994, when R. Crumb’s Tilley-inspired cover appeared. Tilley has since reappeared, with other artists substituting from time-to-time.
…From the New Yorker‘s Culture Desk, February 25, 2017, “Looking At The Field” — Roger Angell on James Stevenson’s art and writing.
photo: Mr. Stevenson in Westport, Connecticut in 2015
…Liza Donnelly has been out in Hollywood all week drawing the scene as the Academy Awards prepares for its big night. Following her historic appearance last year as the first ever cartoonist live drawing on the Red Carpet, she will be back again tomorrow night drawing the stars and the hooplah.
Check out her drawings @lizadonnelly and @CBSThisMorning
…The New Yorker’s Oscar cover, February 27, 2017 by Eric Drooker (titled “#OscarsNotSoWhite”)
…I’ll wrap up this post appropriately enough with Bob Eckstein’s Eustace holding an Oscar. Be sure to follow Mr. Eckstein‘s coverage of the big event on newyorker.com