Welcome to our redesigned blog format! As we head into 2016,  the blog looks a bit newer, but we’ll continue to write about all the wonderful objects in our collections. Today, we highlight one of the many items in the F. Ambrose Clark Rare Book Room that cross the boundary between art and books. Today’s highlight is an unbound, undated collection of 13 drawings in pencil and watercolor by sporting artist Robert Ball (1890-1975).

Mallards. The collection is original drawings and watercolors, most depicting animals in nature.
Mallards. The collection is original drawings and watercolors, most depicting animals in nature.
Ball's style is subtle and soft, and the images in the collection are extremely charming.
Ball’s style is subtle and soft, and the images in the collection are extremely charming.

Ball’s illustrations can be found in several sporting books published by the Derrydale Press. He also drew the iconic masthead and cover illustration that adorned the Chronicle of the Horse for decades.

Doe and Fawns.
Doe and Fawns.
Messenger, 1788. Messenger was an important foundational sire of racing blood stock in the United States. Imported shortly after the American Revolution, Messenger was a British thoroughbred descended from the Godolphin Arabian.
Messenger, 1788. Messenger was an important foundational sire of racing blood stock in the United States. Imported shortly after the American Revolution, Messenger was a British thoroughbred descended from the Godolphin Arabian.

These drawings, collected by John Daniels, are tipped into a folder and protected in a clamshell box. Daniels was a meticulous record-keeper, a habit that often provides moments of insight into how his books were collected. A note in the box identifies this collection as a birthday gift from his wife, Martha, in 1993.

Foxhound.
Foxhound.