Monday, April 09, 2012

What Did Wyatt Earp Look Like on March 23, 1882?

April 9, 2012

Worked over the weekend on a variety of Wyatt Earp imagery, including this sketch of Wyatt Earp on March 23, 1882.

This is against type. We expect to see him in a black hat, coat and tie. See, here's the thing. Everybody thinks Wyatt Earp walked around in a black suit ALL THE TIME. He is typecast with this because of the photographs of him. Earp always viewed himself as a Sporting Man, not as a cowboy or a gunfighter (and by the way, did you know Stuart Lake's original title for his seminal book was "Frontier Gunfighter" before Josie Earp had a hissy fit and forced him to change it to "Frontier Marshal"?), so Earp dressed up for the saloons and the photographer. Granted on the beach in Alaska he's dressed in a suit but I think he had a different outfit for the trail and on March 23, 1882, Wyatt and Doc and several others were riding into the Babocomari foothills looking for Curly Bill Brocius and others. The proof of Wyatt's head gear is George Parsons, a friend of Earps and a banker by trade in Tombstone. He has photographs taken in formal wear, but he also has a couple photographs of himself taken in the style of clothing he wore outside of town. Big difference.

I have a hunch Wyatt Earp was dressed more in this style, with a light, broad-brimmed hat and he probably had a neckerchief, as was the style then, even though I haven't shown him with that—yet. But I will.

Meanwhile, here are a couple sketches of Earp extrapolating from the screen captures I took of "The Lawman."

And here is another page of sketches emulating Charles Dana Gibson (he immortalized The Gibson Girl and was a monster illustrator and I'm a huge fan).

"The end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.'
—T.S. Elliott

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