William Sharp (Leon Schleifer), Satiric Wizard of the Pen (1900-1961)

Emerging on the New York artistic scene just before the start of the Second World War, William Sharp was an Austrian-born Jew (born Leon Schleifer) whose satirical cartoons of the Nazis and their flamboyant leader during the 1920s made him persona non grata in Germany, compelling him to flee the country in 1933 under threat of imprisonment if he remained. Arriving in the United States in 1934, he adopted the English surname "Sharp," perhaps to reflect his precision as a draftsman and the acuteness of his visual satire. Six years later, he became an American citizen and comfortable denizen of Forrest Hills, NY. He was fascinated by a disparate range of contemporary figures from Sir Winston Churchill to mobster Frank Costello, but was also a recorder of daily life in Queens, including society ladies, baseball players, and boxers as the subjects of his vignettes of urban life. His first American commission was for the Hearst newspaper chain, sketching the 1934 trial of Bruno Richard Hauptmann, accused of kidnapping and murdering Charles Lindbergh's infant son. He went on to cover a long series of trials, including those of Alger Hiss, accused of espionage and convicted of perjury, and of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were executed for spying. There followed assignments from Life, The New York Post, The Daily Mirror, The New York Times Magazine, and other magazines and journals. He also became a sought-after book illustrator, producing memorable images for The Wall (1950) by John Hersey, the story of the Warsaw ghetto uprising during the Nazi occupation of Poland and Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamozov, as well as such classics as Edgar Allen Poe's Tales of Mystery and Imagination and the Random House Treasury of Stephen Foster (1946), as well as the short stories of Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Mann. His illustrations for The Diary of Samuel Pepys, and a volume of Dickens brought him considerable acclaim. After his work on Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone in 1944, he illustrated the Heritage Press's biography of Benjamin Franklin in 1951.

  • Title-page vignette: dead Godfrey Ablewhite, a Brahmin, and the Moonstone.
  • Headnote vignette, Prologue I: The Citadel at Seringapatam, p. 3.
  • Colonel Herncastle after the Murders, facing p. 4.
  • Headnote vignette, Chapter 1: Betteredge writing, p. 9.
  • The Brahmins and Their Clairvoyant, facing p. 20.
  • Vignette: Franklin Blake, p. 22.
  • Vignette: Old Sir John Herncastle in Town, facing p. 31.
  • Vignette: Franklin Blake on horseback, p. 43.
  • Godfrey Ablewhite, p. 53.
  • The Making of John Herncastle's Will, facing p. 60.
  • Rachel Verinder and Franklin Blake, painting her doors, facing p. 92.
  • Rachel wearing the Moonstone on her birthday, facing p. 100.
  • Sergeant Cuff, Lady Julia, and Betteredge, p. 101.
  • Sergeant Cuff interviews Rosanna Spearman, p. 110.
  • Sergeant Cuff and Gabriel Betteredge, examining boot-prints in the sand, p. 119.
  • Sergeant Cuff arrives, facing p. 116.
  • Rachel Verinder, getting ready to go to Frizinghall, p. 143.
  • Sergeant Cuff, Mrs. Yolland, and Gabriel Betteredge at Cobb's Hole, facing p. 156.
  • Sergeant Cuff and Gabriel Betteredge in the Verinder library, p. 165.
  • Sergeant Cuff on the cliffs, facing p. 188.
  • Miss Clack and her diary, p. 210.
  • The Brahmins grab Godfrey Ablewhite, facing p. 220.
  • Vignette: Godfrey Ablewhite proposes to Rachel Verinder, p. 222.
  • A Pair of Headnote vignettes: ladies in hooped skirts ('First Narrative') and a rural cottage ('Second Narrative'), pages 181and 249.
  • Franklin Blake, retrieving Rosanna's metal box, facing p. 252.
  • Vignette: The Hindu Moon God on His Antelope, p. 269.
  • Headnote vignette, Third Narrative: Franklin Blake, p. 272.
  • Vignette: Franklin Blake, Gabriel Betteredge, and Limping Lucy, p. 285.
  • Vignette: Ezra Jennings, Dr. Candy's Assistant, p. 302.
  • Vignette: Franklin Blake under the influence of laudanum, p. 321.
  • Franklin Blake walking through the High Street of Dorking, p. 335.
  • Dr. Candy, Franklin Blake, and Ezra Jennings, p. 340 and facing p. 338.
  • Vignette: Jennings and Blake walking on the moor, p. 334.
  • Headnote vignette, Fourth Narrative: a country bridge, p. 371.
  • Vignette: Dr. Candy's delirium, p. 335.
  • Franklin Blake consults Ezra Jennings, facing p. 380.
  • Franklin Blake, sleepwalking, facing p. 388.
  • The Laudanum Experiment: Ezra Jennings, Rachel Verinder, Mathew Bruff, and Gabriel Betteredge, p. 395.
  • Godfrey Ablewhite, disguised as a sailor, facing p. 404.
  • Headnote vignette, Fifth Narrative: Gooseberry in London, p. 405.
  • Vignette: Godfrey Ablewhite, disguised as a sailor, p. 414.
  • Godfrey Ablewhite, taking the Moonstone from Franklin Blake, facing p. 420.
  • Vignette: Gooseberry, Cuff, and Blake find Godfrey Ablewhite dead, p. 421.
  • Headnote vignette, Sixth Narrative: Sergeant Cuff, p. 422.
  • Headnote vignette, Seventh Narrative: Mr. Candy's letter and guttering candle, p. 434.
  • Headnote vignette, Eighth Narrative: Robinson Crusoe and Betteredge's pipe, p. 436.
  • The Three Brahmins, rowing away from the East Indiaman, facing p. 436.
  • Vignette: Betteredge and his dog, p. 437.
  • Headnote vignette, Epilogue: East Indiaman in full sail, p. 439.
  • Ornamental tailpiece: The Temple of the Moon God at Somnauth, p. 444.
  • Five vignettes on the 1946 book-cover.
  • Related Materials


    "Art Review: The World Was a Target For Satire From Queens." Accessed 21 September 2016. The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/21/arts/art-review-the-world-was-a-target-for-satire-from-queens.html?_r=0

    Collins, Wilkie. The Moonstone: A Romance. with sixty-six illustrations. Harper's Weekly: A Journal of Civilization. Vol. 12 (1868), 4 January through 8 August, pp. 5-503.

    ________. The Moonstone: A Romance. All the Year Round. 1 January-8 August 1868.

    _________. The Moonstone: A Novel. With 19 illustrations. New York & London: Harper and Brothers, 1874.

    _________. The Moonstone: A Romance. Illustrated by George Du Maurier and F. A. Fraser. London: Chatto and Windus, 1890.

    _________. The Moonstone, Parts One and Two. The Works of Wilkie Collins, vols. 5 and 6. New York: Peter Fenelon Collier, 1900.

    _________. The Moonstone: A Romance. With four illustrations by John Sloan. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1908.

    _________. The Moonstone: A Romance. Illustrated by A. S. Pearse. London & Glasgow: Collins, 1910, rpt. 1930.

    _________. The Moonstone. With forty-nine illustrations by William Sharp. New York: Doubleday, 1946.

    _________. The Moonstone: A Romance. With nine illustrations by Edwin La Dell. London: Folio Society, 1951.

    Farmer, Steve. "Introduction" to Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone. Peterborough, ON: Broadview, 1999. Pp. 8-34.

    Leighton, Mary Elizabeth, and Lisa Surridge. "The Transatlantic Moonstone: A Study of the Illustrated Serial in Harper's Weekly." Victorian Periodicals Review Volume 42, Number 3 (Fall 2009): pp. 207-243. Accessed 1 July 2016. http://englishnovel2.qwriting.qc.cuny.edu/files/2014/01/42.3.leighton-moonstone-serializatation.pdf

    Lonoff, Sue. Chapter 7: "The Moonstone and Its Audience." Wilkie Collins and His Readers: A Study in the Rhetoric of Authorship. New York: AMS Studies in the Nineteenth Century, 1982. Pp. 170-227.

    Nayder, Lillian. Unequal Partners: Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, & Victorian Authorship. London and Ithaca, NY: Cornll U. P., 2001.

    Peters, Catherine. The King of the Inventors: A Life of Wilkie Collins. London: Minerva, 1991.

    Reed, John R. "English Imperialism and the Unacknowledged crime of The Moonstone. Clio 2, 3 (June, 1973): 281-290.

    Robinson, Kenneth. "Chapter 12: 'The Moonstone'." Wilkie Collins: A Biography London: The Bodley Head, 1951. Pp. 200-224.

    Stewart, J. I. M. "A Note on Sources." Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1966, rpt. 1973. Pp. 527-8.

    Last updated 4 November 2016