The Illustrated History of the Snowman by Bob Eckstein contained 210 pages with almost all of them generously illustrated with colour and black-and-white photos of snow figures. The author himself included his own remarkable paintings to lead each chapter as well as the painting on the front and back cover. I was amazed at all the snowman firsts, such as the first snowman depicted in movies and the oldest surviving snowman illustration. Mary Dillwyn took the first photograph of a snowman in 1853:
Eckstein supplied dozens of photos of snowman paraphernalia from his own collection. I was taken aback by the freakish snowman iconography. Forget spooky clowns; some of these snowmen will haunt your dreams. I had a chuckle when Eckstein wrote:
“Of course all snowmen are gay; there’s nothing gayer than snowmen.”
as well as when he pointed out his observation about Miró’s painting entitled Bleu II, which to the author, and now forever to me too, will remind me of a melted blue snowman:
Eckstein included chapters featuring snowmen in advertising, during war years, the snowman as kitsch icon, as well as snowmen from around the world. You’ll shake your head in disbelief at the sight of the life-size snowman from Algeria, built after a freak Sahara snowstorm.